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Celebrating the best of Kent

Every so often I see a place I absolutely adore regardless of the time of year, and West Malling is one of those places! Its a village in Kent, and one I first visited whilst on holiday a few years ago. My husband and I did consider it as one of the places we could happily live in when we wanted to move to Kent, but then we found that the properties there are very popular, and there was nothing on the market at the time that we were looking that was suitable. But, now we live in Kent, we can go and visit any time we want, which is almost as good as living there..

We visited there a couple of weeks ago, as we were in the area and I suggested we stop and have a walk around, and a bite to eat in one of the delightful eateries…

And the walk around also included seeing my favourite waterfall in the village….the cascade that has been there many years and fascinates me every time I see it… the the point that I wanted to paint it as my celebration of its magical effect on me!

I started looking at images, as I knew I had some already of it from previous visits, and found a nice one I took when I first laid eyes on it, and even though it had been a slightly overcast day so the stonework on it looked a bit dull, and I couldn’t see the old building behind it that I love too – I think its an old priory. So although it was fine as a photo, it wasn’t exactly right for the painting I wanted to do…so I looked a bit further and found a few other photos of it and eventually used three photos as my source photos, and took the best of each of them to create my painting. I wanted a blue sky, and sunshine, but also the cascade to be half flowing, not fully flowing as it is in this photo, as I like the way the pool has clearer water and you can see the bottom of the shallow pool then.

I also had a frame that was ideal for it, which set the size (18 x 14 inches) and meant the picture would be on board, not canvas. I also knew the picture would be hanging in my kitchen, as I wanted to look at it daily for inspiration, and a daily view of all the best I love in Kent. I drew out the image onto the board, and put a quick layer of colour for the sky, trees, stonework, water and grass. Since it was done in acrylics, I knew I would be building up the colours as the painting evolved.

I wanted the details in the stonework to show the slight angles of the side faces, and the shadows they created. I wanted the water to look deep and mysterious, I wanted the mossy rocks of the cascade to have depth, I wanted to celebrate all I love about this structure.

I think I’ve captured all of it in this painting, it took a few days of looking, and looking again to paint it. The joy of acrylics is that you can just keep painting until you’re happy with it. I love the way the tree on the right has the same pinky colour as the sloping roof on the old building in the background, to the left of the painting. The stonework has a warmth to it, and is interesting to look at. I love it!

Its called “West Malling cascade” as that is what it is, pure and simple…