When I was seven we moved from Beckenham, Kent (which is now Greater London) to Downe, Kent the home of Charles Darwin. Back then it was known as the first genuine village outside of London and I was in heaven!! The village itself was the stuff of “Darling Buds of May”. I adored the countryside and roamed free along with my dog.
I was also very privileged that my parents had a holiday home on the coast in Salcombe, Devon. There, I also roamed free in a boat called “Cecily” and it was where my love affair with the sea started.
As an adult I lived in the country till seven years ago, when we moved to a former fishing village on the Kent coast. I adore the sea but have to admit to having missed being in the middle of the countryside. I count myself incredibly lucky therefore, to be able to stay in my brother’s beautiful rural period cottage. He has recently bought it and I can go there whenever I like, while he is out of the country (about 7 months of the year). It is just under 3 miles away and I am loving it. Now I have the best of both worlds – coast and country!!
The paintings below are inspired by the surrounding landscape near my brother’s cottage.
“Spring Fields” Oil on board
“Spring Lane” Oil on canvas
Spring is my favorite season, complete with lambs, buds, blossom and all its promise of what’s to come. I absolutely adore the delicious ethereal light and gentle mists! The painting below is inspired by walks and drives in the countryside in the first few days of Spring. It is oil on board and measures 24 x 29.5 ins and is titled “First Days of Spring”.
My Dungeness series of paintings from my Prospect cottage stay, are now at last dry. Whilst only there for four days, I was blessed with many different weather conditions, producing all kinds of different light. This is what I have endeavored to convey in my series.
Below are two examples, the rest are now all on my website:
I hope you enjoy looking at them 🙂
“Eternal Desert, Dungeness”
Oil on canvas 39 x 31.5″
Dungeness is in fact Britain’s only official desert. This painting is from memories of gazing out of the window at
the back of Prospect Cottage, where the view seemed to go on forever.
“Warm Dawn, Dungeness”
Oil on canvas 24 x 18″
Each day, I made my way to the beach at dawn, to see what the light was doing. This painting was inspired by the first morning, which was gloriously warm for October.
The winter storms, were as everyone knows quite extraordinary this year. I felt so desperately sorry for the people who were so badly affected!! My parent’s house used to regularly flood very badly. If there was any sign of rain, my mother wouldn’t leave the house for fear it would flood again and they soon ceased to be able to get any insurance. So, my heart went out to all those poor victims of the flooding and of course the winds as well.
Having said that, I felt rather guilty for my delight at the drama and light they provided, which was very inspirational for painting. The oil paintings below are the result:
Below are some of the various bits and bobs I did whilst staying at Prospect Cottage, Dungeness. For me (though at the moment, I must say everything is still very fresh in my memory), they bring back the atmosphere of the place and the time, which I hope will be translated in my work . I found the whole trip so inspiring I’m nervous I won’t do it justice when painting!
It’s really difficult to know where to begin to describe my stay at Prospect Cottage. Suffice to say it was an incredible and inspiring experience!
Unsurprisingly, Derek Jarman’s presence was palpable in and outside the cottage. This had a profound and humbling effect on me.
I was treated to a whole spectrum of different weather conditions producing constantly exciting light. From soft to dramatic and everything in between.
I have started painting and to be honest am not at all sure how the Dungeness paintings are going to work out, that is yet to unfold ………
Below are a few of the photos I took, the sea and the gulls were early light, the second one is the taken from the kitchen. There is a story to the last one. I am a person that would never go out in my dressing gown, let alone with no make up on!! It was just after dawn and the light was so fantastic, I had to throw caution to the wind, and whizzed outside hoping no one would see me. I was taking this photo from the front of the cottage, when I noticed a man in the distance. He had a camera with a zoom lens which to my utter horror and mortification was pointing at me!
As a special favour from my friend Keith Collins, I am incredibly excited and privileged to be going to stay and paint for a few days at Prospect Cottage (Derek Jarman’s former Dungeness getaway). I have visited Dungeness on quite a few occasions but to be staying there is a different matter, let alone at Prospect Cottage. It means that for a short while, I will be able to see it in all its different lights at various times of day and, I am hoping, different weather conditions. I’m wondering what the sunrise may be like, if I get to see one. How will the light play on this oddly beautiful landscape?
To be staying in Derek Jarman’s cottage, surrounded by his extraordinary garden, obviously has a huge impact. I expect his presence will be tangible and I wonder what effect, if any, this might have on the work I intend to produce from this trip.
I painted the oil on canvas below a couple of years ago, from my memories of a trip to Dungeness. It is called “Warm September Day, Dungeness” 16″ x 20″.
Dungeness , which has always drawn me to it, with its unique and haunting atmosphere, I’m sure will not fail to inspire me!! I am going very soon and will be posting again about my trip, so watch this space ………