Today was meant to be my first exhibition of the year. A joint one with my friend Aileen Grant and I at Attadale Gardens. Instead, I did some painting and took delivery of some courgette and lupin plants (thanks to Donald of Loch Duich plants).
Back in January 2017, Aileen and I joined an art group based at Inverewe Gardens. We returned frequently over the next few months and visiting inspired me to undertake a Certificate in Botanic Art with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and to then go on to exhibit an Inverewe in July last year. I have also been lucky enough to be able to sketch and paint regularly Attadale and earlier this year, Aileen and I met with Joanna Macpherson to plan a whole series of events that we would run jointly with Attadale including workshops (read more about them at Lochcarron Arts). Unfortunately events have overtaken us and we’ve had to cancel a workshop and the exhibition itself, though we do still have things planned for later this year, all being well.
But that first visit was the start of a series of events which were life-changing. We returned several times and I spent a lot of time sketching at Attadale too. and it was that which inspired me to further study. After doing the botanic course I felt much more confident in combining my two loves, art and gardening and I have spent a lot of time over the past year or so looking more carefully at plants and at gardens generally and incorporating them into my art.
I have been a landscape painter for many years and I am particularly fascinated with the Highland landscape, which is in many ways more artificial than a garden and much more harsh. Yet people do live here and gardens grow profusely, in the temporate climate, at least they do after windbreaks have been planted and soil enriched.
I have been working in a variety of different styles and mediums. I make the initial sketches in situe where I can, in pastel and charcoal, trying to capture the way that the plants grow, the plants they grow alongside, the conditions that suit them. I take careful measurements and then, back in the studio I do a more careful and detailed drawing or painting. Until now, I have been lucky enough to work in the glorious gardens mentioned above and I will continue to work on these sketches, drawings and photographs to make work, which I will hopefully be able to share at an exhibition, later this year. In the meantime I thought I would share the images with you anyway.
But for now, my own garden is beginning to grow. I am spending time sowing plants, bringing on seedlings and sketching and drawing at home.
And I’ll continue on with my latest work, based on my own garden and the view from the decking at the top.