drawing the garden

Below: drawing of the garden, Penparc Cottage, made last week.

Penparc Cottage has for over ten years been a place where I’ve retreated to work.

Below: a reverse view of the garden to the one above. I’m planning to use these two drawings to kick-start some new paintings.

I’ve particularly produced still-life paintings at Penparc, using objects from the dresser and kitchen placed in front of a window with a ‘constructed’ view of the sea and sand beyond. In this one the view of the beach appears closer than it is in reality, and with the garden that partially obscures the view of it left out. Oddly enough, although this is not what we see through our window, the painting seems to me to conjure the feel of Penparc Cottage better than any photograph.

But when needed I change the view in the paintings from the garden, to a seascape as a background to the foreground objects.

Quite a few paintings have the garden as the subject matter.

Occasionally I’ve made more representational painting, showing the window and the view to the garden beyond. In this one the garden had only just been constructed, and the plants were yet to be put in.

15 thoughts on “drawing the garden

  1. Clive, I love these new drawings and am excited to see your creative wheels turning toward the garden and still life again. You’ve inspired me to try combining still life with landscape and I hope to find my own way with it…the storytelling power is enhanced so much by the addition of a “view” of some sort and the objects become characters in a drama that has a place and setting in addition tot heir own “relationship.” (I left you a previous comment but it seems to have disappeared…) Thank you for this long and ongoing exploration.

    • I’ll check my WordPress spam filter to see if you got stowed away there for some reason.

      Your landscape drawing and painting is so confident and beautiful these days, I think it won’t be a great leap for you to combine backgrounds with the objects you’re moved to paint. I’m touched that you like these rather scrappy drawings. I didn’t have much time to make them, but speed often lends inspiration, or so I’ve found.

      This garden has changed so much over the years, as it’s matured and we’ve added plants where some of their predecessors haven’t survived. It was lovely to sit for half an hour, hidden away under the weeping silver-birch, while Jack and the four boys who were visiting us for the day raced around shouting (and barking) and having a wild time. No-one noticed that I’d crept off and taken cover where I could quietly draw, not even Jack, who was too busy chasing his new toys to worry himself about me.

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am never satisfied, never feel my work is free or imaginative enough, though it may be technically sound…we all have our challenges and struggles! And I’m delighted to have this mental picture of you in the garden, hidden under a tree, while the boys and happy dog ran around. An ideal afternoon! These drawings don’t look scrappy to me. I just see the same effort to find the forms and interest in a busy foliate landscape that preoccupies me too. Your drawings from that old sketchbook – the stile in the forest – you must remember those – really helped me. It’s a complicated task, one that rather reminds me of Price Charming hacking through the overgrown brambles to find Sleeping Beauty!

  2. Wow !!!
    I was born 70 years ago in a house with a garden by the sea , and I miss it every day, especially during the autumn ( with the leaves going red, and the sea looking almost black, and the furious waves , and the swallows getting ready to fly away ).
    So, I know I am going to Love these paintings ( I already love the drawings )
    Thank you

    • Ah yes, Maria, I too would miss being by the sea if I were ever to live far away from it. (In Wales we’re never that far away from the sea, as we’re bounded by it along our west coast.) The cottage is just a stones throw from the beach… it takes about ten seconds to walk there… and in our main home, Ty Isaf, just outside Aberystwyth, we’re a mere fifteen minute drive away. (Plus we have a river a couple of fields away below the house, where I take my dog to swim.)

      I too love the changes of season, though I become very sad when the swallows depart, because I know that marks the onset of the long, sometimes hard winter months. Recently I’ve been leaving our bedroom window open, and the swallows nesting in our eaves fly in and out. I LOVE that!

        • Oh don’t be envious. We like to share it and have friends stay there, with or without us. It’s important to Peter and me that others join in our good fortune by staying at and appreciating Penparc Cottage. So if ever you head this way…

          I have a very dear friend, Montserrat, who has a home in Catalonia, and another in Cardiff. In Cardiff she runs a wonderful restaurant called La Cuina, that specialises in rustic Catalan cooking. As my contribution toward her setting up the business, I designed the lettering that has become the La Cuina logo! You can see it HERE. That’s Montse with me in the top photo.

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