Leonard Baskin, and Art by Artist

Leonard Baskin[The Funeral, where I found it]

This Leonard Baskin piece just got my eye and I thought I would share it here with all of you. As designers I think it is important we look at all artist and their mediums. After all artist and landscape designers are in the business of communicating.

True it may be that artist like Leonard Baskin are communicating something entirely different than what Landscape Designers are trying to communicate (1 dimensional art vs. 4 dimensional living art) . . . one thing is certain. We all are looking for an emotional response.

The longer I do what I do the more important other art forms become to me. I had heard older Landscape Designers talk about studying other disciplines earlier in my career, but I continued to miss the importance of what they were trying to tell me.

Study art, study photography, study nature. These studies will make you a better designer.

This is where most Professional Associations(Conferences/Workshops) miss the mark entirely. The lack of introducing/cross-promoting other disciplines; especially . . . especially when it comes to the teaching of Design lessens the Design process. By the ignoring of the design process.

I will continue to look for artist work that inspires me, or strikes a chord. I will continue to show the works of the ancients. I will continue to show other disciplines that could help make us better Landscape Designers. There is much to be learned by studying the work, the training, the thought process, the conceptual design(s) work away from the profession of Landscape Design.

Most Landscape Design is America is failing. It’s failing because of a lack of appreciation for what it really is; art in 4 dimensions, and the power design has in bringing forth an emotional response. This failing is part of the continued dumbing down of America. An America where the bar for mediocrity continues to drop lower and lower.

It’s time to stop the lowering of the bar.

I’m asking Designers to become pro-active, seek knowledge, and realize that good landscape Design is indeed art. Create the emotional response. I’ve always said if you can get someone to walk around the corner, and out of the client’s mouth comes an audible gasp, or a remark of “wow”, with the big eye look-then you’ve succeeded, you have provoked the response.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Very nice statement Rick,
    it inspires me to send a piece from one of my favorite arts – poetry

    Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
    Whether the summer clothe the general earth with greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch of mossy appletree, while the nigh thatch smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall heard only in the trances of the blast, for if the secret ministry of frost shall hang them up in silent icicles, quietly shining to the shining moon.

    Thanks, I thought this piece ‘wads-worth’ it’s own posting.

  2. what are the 4 dimension?

    Length, width, depth + what? time maybe?

    and wouldn’t the drawing be 2 dimension? Length & width?


    Well you pretty much have 3 of those as we live in a 3 Dimensional World, and all Design has to account for that. It’s the 4th that a lot of Designers and Gardeners do not account for—it’s time. Obviously this is seen most often by the poor placement of plant material . . . not accounting for the changes that occur over time.

    It’s one thing for the amateur designer/gardener to forget about the effects of time, unfortunately I see a lot of professionally designed work where the 4th dimension was not considered.

    As for drawings, I think most renderers or designers always look to create the depth, for a 3 dimensional look, by working foreground and background. I guess in my own way of stumbling through the English language I was really more concerned about designers working in all 4 dimensions.

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