My secret garden

My secret garden

Wide-eyed as a cat, curious as a bird, a child searches for hidden treasures in the garden. Rejoicing at the arrival of chestnuts and at the decorated stone font. So elusive and remarkable is the atmosphere under the leaves by old walls, as we hold a discovered fossil in our hand. Layers of time, layers of color… In the bird’s nest sleeps a great secret inside the shell with a pearl in the crack of a rock close by.

Never have the scents of flowers and earth been so strong as that summer evening of my childhood when, playing hide-and-seek, I hid from my friends. In the labyrinth of vegetation, I discovered a secret hiding place, reachable only through a hidden entrance. There I sat, joyful to be hidden from the world.

Nobody could reach me there, as long as I chose to remain hidden. But just as I believed myself to be completely alone, I discovered the strong scents, the sigh of the wind under the stars, and that we are never alone and always at home everywhere among the leaves. The ‘My Secret Garden’ suite of paintings is a celebration of childhood and nature and the core and beauty they both represent.

As always in my portraits of girls, I am striving for a universal portrait, so every girl can see herself or be recognized in the picture. Not in the physical characteristics but in a feeling of belonging to a priceless time of creation, expectation and belonging to the miracle of nature.

It is hard to quit a beloved place, in the same way that it is hard to leave one’s homeland or childhood even if we know that where we are bound, our next stop, is not a bad place.

This is perhaps why I want my girls in their landscapes, once and for all. They neither will nor need be anywhere else. And it is a seductive thought to occasionally want to escape the world as much as belong to it. To paint, to enter a picture, is like searching for and being fascinated by a secret garden, its inaccessibility and beauty, a frightening yet safe place. But when you get there, you become one with the garden and its secret, and when you leave you take the magic with you, via the painting. To be able to tell of one’s longings and dreams, fully aware of the dark side of existence, is, for me, a much-desired and rare talent and it is a great joy and something of a comfort every time I meet such a storyteller.

Dorina Mocan