Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monet watch out!

For the last nine months I've been painting -  watercolours that is - not the kitchen ceiling! Its about time, as the paints and brushes were a leaving gift from my work colleagues when I retired some four years ago! (Thanks guys!) It all started when I was organising a 'Picnic in the Park' event at the University some years ago.  I had invited Rita Mitchell, a local watercolour artist to paint in the Millennium Garden as part of the afternoon's entertainment. I found myself enthralled as she spilled paint onto the paper, then swirled it around and allowed it to create flowers and leaves as it flowed and took its own shapes. It was fascinating watching the paint dry! I later went back to her studio and bought the finished painting which has been on my lounge wall for some years. I always though 'I'd like to do that' - hence the retirement painting kit.

Rita's original picture from the Millennium Garden

I also discovered the work of Shirley Trevena who paints with watercolours in an exuberant and flamboyant way - all bold colours and vivid contrasts - not the timid tints you'd expect! The following picture is one of Shirley's, followed by my own forgery. Hmm - maybe a new career? Works of the great artists to order!

Irises by Shirley Trevenna
Forgery by me!

Well - I'm a long way off in my own creations! I realise that after a lifetime of working with plants and flowers, I know what they should look like, so am rather bound by realism. I can draw reasonably well and make a dahlia look like a dahlia but that means I tend to do a sketch then fill in the shapes - sort of painting without numbers!  One thing I do love is colour! I realise that my planting schemes have always been very flamboyant and painting plants allows a sort of creativity that would be impossible with real plants. If a flower is not in the right place just paint one in! Think daffodils would look good next to sunflowers - paint them!

Its not actually my first venture into art as I took art A level - many years ago. I failed, lost my place at art college and because of that ended up in a career in horticulture. I've no regrets but its a curious pattern that takes me full circle to an interest I had 40+ years ago! Frustrated retired horticulturalist, artist or whatever, I'm thoroughly enjoying my new hobby. Anyway - click on the Watercolour tab at the top of the page and have a look at some of my pictures. Do PLEASE give me some feedback - tell me if you like them. Ooh and I'm open to offers if anyone wants to buy one!


  1. This is a great diversion...seems designing inside, requires me to fix some landscape lighting, pull a weed, or water something. (well, when watering wasn't every few days even as winter is near) I can see water colors, painting, sketching, and the like as so necessary...back to my deadline!

    1. I guess I have always enjoyed the artistic side - designing my landscapes and so on - maybe the painting isn't such a strange departure.

  2. Yes I clicked on the tab and wow, what a collection of watercolour paintings! The poppies are my favourite but all of them look superb. It's a great preoccupation, in between your horticulture endeavours. Your colour schemes and styles is indeed a reflection of your planting style as well.

  3. Are you saying I'm a bit flambouyant? :)