Lily Pads Inspire Gardener’s Passion for Art

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Lily Pads Inspire Gardener’s Passion for Art


BY M. J. VAN DEVENTER

William Hawk has loved nature since he was a child growing up near Portland Avenue on property his great grandfather homesteaded in Oklahoma’s historic 1889 Land Run.

So it seems only natural that William would design beautifully landscaped grounds surrounding his country home in a secluded rural setting northeast of Oklahoma City.

“As a child, I was expected to work in my parents’ vegetable garden,” he recalled. “My mother loved flowers and planted different varieties. Now, I’m carrying on a family interest.”

On his first visit to the five-acre setting 28 years ago, Hawk was inspired by the elevations and raised beds offering panoramic views. In this wooded enclave, hidden by mature trees and lush foliage, he has designed a tropical paradise. The rolling hills and terraces are highlighted with a variety of tropical plants, especially umbrella catalpas, which he has grafted at varying heights.

With horticulture as a life-long hobby, he channeled that interest into a magnificent water garden, which is brimming with lily pads, tropical guppies and koi during all seasons except winter. During the cold months, the tropical plants, guppies and lily pads are housed in containers inside Hawk’s two greenhouses.

The large lily pond has long been an oasis of pleasure for Hawk, who has worked professionally as an anesthesiologist at Mercy Hospital for 30 years.
“I enjoy all my property, but my favorite view is from the upper level of the grounds, looking down on the lily pond,” he said.

About a year ago, the lily pond became much more than a special garden attraction. It was included on the Oklahoma Horticulture Society’s 2014 garden tour in October. It has inspired him to create brilliantly colored glass art platters with a stunning lily pad motif.

Few people ever turn over a leather-like lily pad to study the intricate veining system that supports these delicate water plants. But curiosity prompted Hawk to examine them in detail. Now, he revels in the beauty nature continually provides as an inspiration for his glass art.

“Since the Studio Art Glass movement began, I’ve been an admirer of blown, cold worked and cast glass. I’m fascinated by glass in all forms, especially the magical interplay of light affecting glass,” he said.

His burgeoning interest in glass art led to participation in a 2012 study at Corning Glass in New York. Now, lost wax glass casting is his principal artistic passion.

“Currently, my glass art designs are reminiscent of my favorite water lily, the stunning Amazon or Victoria Water Lily,” he said. “These lilies are sculptural above and below the water and the leaf structure – an intricate web of supporting tentacles – lends itself to casting. I find glass casting allows my imagination to soar with the unlimited possibilities and challenges in design.”

Hawk believes his fascination with creating glass art that reflects nature complements his personality.
“As a practicing anesthesiologist, my profession requires attention to precise detail, timing and sequential planning. Likewise a garden demands the birth of an idea, enhanced by creative planning and strategic implementation,” he said.

The possibilities of a beautifully designed garden are limitless, Hawk said.
“I plan and nurture it, then watch as nature brings the idea of a garden to reality. A similar thought process happens with my art.”

In addition to creating an array of sizes and colors of his glass art in his spacious home-like studio on the property, William spends his leisure time checking his garden’s pulse and enjoying the beauty he’s created.
“I love to watch my plants mature as a season progresses,” he said.

So what’s on Hawk’s creative horizon? For now, he foresees many other plant-related designs while also considering glass art exhibitions to showcase his passion for nature. He is also studying marketing strategies for placing his work in upscale galleries.

“Eventually, I intend to explore glass art that mirrors my emerging interest in antiquities and African art,” he said.

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