See my latest work at The Garden House on Dartmoor
Since moving to Devon 8 years ago, The Garden House, Just outside Yelverton on Dartmoor, has become my favourite local garden to find inspiration & relaxation. This amazing gem of a garden has so many different areas & planting styles that there is something for everyone. As well as abundant flower borders, there is an arboretum, lake, walled gardens & my favourite cottage garden, meadow & prairie garden.
From the 21st June 2022 you will be able to see a selection of my latest meadow paintings & garden paintings, many painted in the garden itself. The paintings are displayed in the lovely Victorian House which overlooks the acres of gardens. As well as seeing my art, which is available to purchase, you can enjoy a day wandering amongst the vibrant growth & borders of the garden & a delicious lunch or afternoon tea in the cafe.
The collection of paintings was created over the last couple of years, through the Covid lockdowns & as we emerged back into the world this year. The Garden House gave me so many moments of joy that creating paintings of its magical corners was just the natural thing for me to do.
Painting Meadows & Flower Borders at The Garden House
The inspiration I found in the tiny things of Nature kept me balanced & well throughout this difficult time & the beautiful comments from clients & viewers let me know that they also carried well being & peace to others.
Whether it was the planted borders in the cascading walled gardens below the house or the wildness of the meadow, there was certainly no shortage of inspiration for my work. I could spend years capturing the pockets of floral beauty & never run out of subject matter.
Mindfulness in Nature
We talk a lot about mindfulness these days, how being genuinely in the moment & taking in slowly & meaningfully what we are experiencing has powerful benefits to our mental & physical wellness. Nature itself provides a soothing balm to the mind & body, refreshing, soothing & opening us up. So being mindful out in nature doubles up the experience & has powerful effects on us. wandering around a garden is an opportunity to find this peace & to take a break from worries or work & just allow yourself to be amongst the colour & texture of growth.
The beauty of this garden transcends the seasons. From the snowdrop festival , early in Spring, when the seedheads, grases & branches are glittered with frost to the riot of billowing flowers in the borders in Summer, the garden always has wonderful little vignettes to notice & be amazed at.
Painting perennial Flower borders
Ligularia in the Tennis Court Garden
My most recent painting from The garden House si 'Unbound' picturing the tall golden spires of Ligularia in 'the tennis court' walled garden. Against the backdrop of an ancient wall the flower border here literally overflows with growth. Perennials in soft tones of blues, pinks & cream mix together in a tapestry of colour. The tall spires of Ligularia create a dramatic focal point in their bright yellow tones. The painting took three full weeks to complete, painted in layer upon layer to depict the flower border. The canvas is 102cmx76cm creating a strong statement piece which brings joy to its surroundings.
Salvias & Geums in the walled garden
As you wander down the old stone steps from the tennis court, through a stone turret folly, the walled garden welcomes you with a long sweep of lawned path, surrounded by more formal planting. My eye was instantly attracted by the purple Salvias, which have always been a favourite. in perfect contrast cral Geums pop their head up & bib gently in the breeze. I found the teal greens a perfect balance to this composition.
Painted on a big 76x102cm canvas the Slavias & geums bring a bold splash of colour to their surroundings, creating a feeling of happiness.
The Beauty of a Summer Meadow
Probably me favourite part of the garden is the area of cottage garden which leads to a wild meadow, taking the eye out across the Devon countryside. Other visitors to the garden are sometimes surprised when suddenly my head pops up from the grasses. When i paint my meadows I like to get right down at the level that the wildlife would see it. You'll find me lying around on my belly, sketching or taking photos.
Getting so up close & personal to the growth in the meadow allows me to really see the incredible variety of plants which flourish when allowed to grow wild. Dozens of variety of grasses & seed heads, yellow rattle, thistles & wild orchids. sometimes, Im just happy to lie there , noticing more & more as I look. A sense of total calm always soothes me as my mind focusses on the tiny little details. Worries, stresses just float away & I can breathe & smile as the breeze rustles through the meadow.
Capturing these simple details in my meadow paintings brings that feeling onto the walls of a home. A little bit of nature's healing to soothe the mind any day or time.
Noticing the Little Things
A garden looks spectacular from any angle, but the things which really excite me are the tiny details, which others pass by.
On a cloudy morning, just after some rain, I found myself wandering through the gardens earlier this Spring, when very little was blooming.
The top lawn of the Garden house has planted beds around it, one of which contain winter flowering heathers. As the sun broke through the scattering clouds, I noticed it catch the dewdrops on the heather, The effect was quite magical & I wanted to capture it on canvas. The result was my painting 'The essence of being', with the rays of light touching the tips of the heather flowers, creating dapples of light.
Its these tiny things which I find so incredible. That wherever you look, there is something beautiful to see, if only you take the time to notice. When life presents us with difficulties, noticing beauty, however tiny is so important to raise the spirits. The balance scales of happiness can be weighed to the positive, the more we spend moments noticing the treasures around us. It's definitely what keeps me sane!
Make time for yourself
Whether you come to The Garden House to see my exhibition, or just to wlk in the garden, the one thing I can recommend is to take some precious moments for yourself.
Take time to breathe in deeply the fresh air, to look around you & really appreciate the beauty of nature. Time to slow your pace & focus on the little things. The rewards are amazing. Even an hour spent like this can have a massive impact on improving your well being & mental health.
Then again, you can also get in touch with these feelings through one of paintings. Having art from nature on your wall allows you to get lost in hat magic any time you like.