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The first Happy Garden painting and the Red, White, and Blue, that inspired me

The first painting I did for the Happy Gardens theme of paintings had to be the epitome of English gardens, and where better to start than in Kent, the “Garden of England”, quite rightly so from what I have seen of it! I’ve had some fabulous holidays in Kent in the last few years and am totally enamoured with its stunning picturesque beauty, and historical connections, and had plenty of source photos to work from for the pictures I was planning to do. Very inspirational, on lots of levels.

And if the artist is inspired, then the viewers of her paintings should be.

I found one photo that was a very good place to start and looked very closely at it and at what I wanted to build on from the photo infront of me. Because photos don’t pick up on all the nuances of artistic interpretation, they flatten colours, and depths of composition, have extra superfluous bits in them and since everything in the photo is in full focus, the eye wanders around the photo too much, and doesn’t stay looking at the all important focal points. So I knew I would have to put the concentrated colours and tones, and focal point within the painting I was doing, as well as possibly enhance the image to make it look more appealing, more like the ultimate garden that I wanted to create in my painting.

Since I wanted the water to be my focal point, and the place to sit by it also of importance, I made the stone seat just behind the pool appealing, so that you as the viewer would want to walk along the paved path infront of you and sit down with the smell of the white roses surrounding you and delicately fragrancing the air.

I liked the red of the acer tree a lot, it was that contrast against the green of the shrubs and plants that appealed a lot to me. So I made sure there was lots of tones of red in the acer, from the pale pinks, coppery oranges, reds, and maroons adding to the livening of the pretty tree leaves, their weight and canopy and colours emulated below in the brickwork of the old stone wall below it.

There are echos of the reds and pinks within the picture, from the red flowers in the stone planters, to the pinks of the pale flowers in the box hedging on the right hand side and the pinky reds of the lilies in the pool.

I love the out of focus part of the lavender coloured trees behind the hedge on the left hand side of the picture, which give a lovely sense of distance in the trees behind the hedge and doesn’t detract from the foreground picture but nicely balances it out with a sense of harmony.

I also like the two small trees on the right hand side that have delicate lime green leaves and lead into the painting with their spacing. The background behind them is delicately out of focus leading the eye further into the garden, to that quiet little seat in the corner.

I loved painting all the textures in this painting, from the sky, to the far trees, the sharply cut hedging, well cut grass, the stonesteps, the pathway, the paving slabs, the trees, the spiky rushes in the water, the flowers, the brickwork, and of course the water, that enigmatic water with as many shades of turquoise as you can imagine, showing its mysterious depths and reflections above as it caresses the waterlilies with its soothing fluidity.

I find this painting very appealingly soothing, as the first one of the “Happy Gardens” paintings it captured all that I wanted it to, and set the scene for somewhere where the viewer should feel at peace, enjoying nature and humanity at one with itself.  Its in acrylics in canvas and measures 31.5 x 24 inches, because I wanted this first painting to be a large one, capturing the details of a beautiful garden in all its glory. Everything in this picture should be pulling you towards that seat, its subtle but its there, and that’s why I love this first picture, because it encapsulated all that I wanted it to! I called the painting “A place to ponder”.

A good start for an English garden, with the RED of the acer, the WHITE of the roses, and the BLUE of the water, pulled together with the delicate greens of England!