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Four Quick Tips For Stylish Plant And Art Collection Pairings From Artist Janice Young

Take it from someone who's successfully combined her love for painting and gardening into one pretty whole


Think of art and an indoor plant collection like the best pairings in life—some mac and cheese, summer and sunsets, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Taken individually, these things are great on their own. But taken together, they're made exponentially better and the best qualities of each are enhanced. 


This is why it doesn't surprise us that Janice Young, a creative at heart, has figured out her winning combo ages ago. She's both an artist and a pandemic-born plantita, and her home is made up of thoughtfully designed spaces. Corners, surfaces, walls, and furniture are decorated with unique finds both inanimate and organic, and for months, she's been reaping the benefits of living in a place that's made room for so much beauty.


"Individually, paintings and plants are great elements in establishing the aesthetic of a space. But paintings and plants can also be arranged together in ways that present a different look and feel than when these are used separately," Janice begins.


"Paintings and plants interact with each each other in numerous ways, so I regularly rearrange combinations of plants and paintings in our house depending on my mood or to create new 'vibes.' It keeps our spaces looking fresh and alive," she continues. 


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The artist, Janice Young is a pandemic-born plantita. | Courtesy of Janice Young


Janice has always had a passion to create with her hands for as long as she can remember. Just as plants effortlessly sprout a baby bud or a fresh root, art flows forth unencumbered from Janice's fingers and onto her canvas of choice. Drawing came naturally to her as a child, and as an adult, the interest and skill has leveled up to creating paintings and turning her house into a home via an aesthetically pleasing collection of pretty little things.


Over time, Janice has collected a myriad of items to bring home and add to her space's personal touch. Sculptures, figurines, and one of a kind tokens stand side by side with her own creations, but if there's one thing that's taken over as of late, it's her growing collection of plants.


She's come to realize that painting and plants go hand in hand; if painting allows her to fully immerse herself in and process her life's goings on, gardening comes as a natural pick-me-up activity and destresser. After Janice faces her thoughts and emotions head on in her art, her plants are there to be willing, and effective, shock absorbers of the experience.


"Painting is more than a hobby to me. It’s a vocation... Many times it can be a struggle, but it is a struggle I enjoy. On the other hand, Gardening is a hobby. It helps me feel less me stressed, by providing me an escape from daily pressures. It also inspires in me an appreciation for beauty in the simplest things," Janice shares. 

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From being someone who was only painting plants, she's turned into a bona fide plant mom who's confident enough to make suggestions to other plantitas-to-be about getting started on their indoor gardens. 


While Janice is no expert at horticulture, she does have a keen eye for how to bring out the best in your décor, be it art or green, living things. 


Consider her first piece of advice: pay attention to the lighting you use. Lighting isn't just crucial in making sure plants stay healthy. It's also a tool you can take advantage of to show off their best features or highlight their placement in a room.


Next, you can choose to surround a centerpiece plant with unique objects. They make for good conversation and they make a view come to life. What Janice often has in mind are seashells, crystals, rocks, even quaint figurines. 


Third, if you're a basic level plantita, begin with ornamental plants that are hardy, or in other words, more forgiving of rookie gardener mistakes. Once you've gotten a hang of these low maintenance plants (if you're able to keep them alive and propagate them), move forward from there. 


"Start with ornamentals such as philodendrons, monsteras and syngoniums. They grow fast and are easy to propagate. When aerial roots form, you can cut and place in little water just enough to cover the bottom. Do not change water often because the growth enzymes will be lost. Wait fir 2inches of new root growth before potting in aroid soil," Janice advises.


"Philodendrons and monsteras do better outdoors, but under a roof or trellis. Under bright light they are upright, grow fast and produce large leaves. Syngoniums are best in shaded areas and grow well indoors a few feet from a window," she adds. 


Fourth, don't forget about accessorizing with pots and vases. The right size, color, finish, and even whimsical design can make all the difference!


Probably the most important consequence of Janice's newly discovered love for gardening is that it's reframed her perspective of life under quarantine. 


She used to hate everything about the pandemic. And she doesn't just mean how it's put stress on humanity as a whole and caused so much pain. It's also gotten in the way of more personal things, like living life the way Janice always has and putting limitations on how a "good time" can be spent these days.


"I used to be resentful of the pandemic and the lockdowns, because I felt it took away so much of my events and activities," she reflects.


"These days though, I realized that, by taking away most of my business, they have also given me time to think and to be grateful for what I have in life. Tending to my plants has helped me deal with the stress of the pandemic, and enabled me to slow down and once again be inspired by the beauty of God’s creations. It has helped me see that I have too often missed the joy in the little things, and the preciousness of the present moment," she shares. 

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Janice makes an excellent point. After all, it's pretty neat to watch a leaf unfurl. Every day, a little progress is made and life unfolds in front of your eyes one millimeter at a time. It evokes the same sense of wonder that comes with observing how a painting comes one step closer to being finished with each stroke and dab. They're small actions that build up to great things so slowly and gradually that, in ordinary times, they would be sorely underappreciated. 


But when you sit back, enjoy the time on your hands, and roll with the punches instead of fight back, you see the world through a whole new lens. It's a privilege to be able to shift perspective so dramatically and positively, and Janice knows this, and she's here to revel in it. 


So, to whoever has said that gardening is just a trendy, temporary interest, perhaps start with any of Janice's suggestions. Bring home a potted philodendron, monstera, or syngonium, and after a couple of weeks of living with them, we and Janice would love to hear back from you. 


In the meantime, Janice will seat in front of her easel, paint, and from time to time, glance around at her space that's full of living, breathing art. 



Photos courtesy of Janice Young