celebrating Gardens

One of the series I have been working on slowly, involve larger works with a garden theme. A recent one ( just posted in the New Work category is The Italian Garden., featured below. On the New Work page I have posted several details of the work, which are like mini works in themselves.

This painting was inspired by a visit to a botanical garden in Northern Italy; The Hanbury Gardens. It is listed as one of the top ten gardens in Italy. I was travelling on the French Riviera. The Garden is only a few miles from the French border, so I walked over the border on a dusty road on a very hot day. The light in that region is enticing for me as a painter. I loved the dramatic contrasts of light and dark and the feeling of movement and stillness ;the vibrant colours and interesting variety of textures. I sat and sketched and took photos, but I knew that photos cannot record the essence of a garden and the sensual quality of it’s effects. The garden sweeps down to the sea and when I was there, the paths were lined with a swath of bright purple salvia contrasting with the lovely mellow orange pink of the villa and the exotic little gazebos dotted here and there.

I have attempted to gather in the sensual memories of being there by painting a tiny fragment of a water feature. I replaced the abundant flowers with an image of a bright clashing scarf. I was thinking of how in early Renaissance times, tapestries were hung on cold castle walls, often displaying garden scenes to remind people of summer pleasures. I thought about the pleasures that gardens give me, and paused to wonder if in the future with changing climate that grim as it sounds, all we may have is manufactured flora, like the scarf in the painting.

The Italian Garden: Diptych oil on canvas 66 x 48"