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.
Its been a frustrating business, finishing my series of paintings from my Prospect Cottage stay!! Christmas of course, was an enforced break, with lots to do before hand. Also my brother who lives in Spain, had asked me to find him a country home near me, to buy. Luckily, I have now found him a beautiful rural idyll, just up the road from me. However, all this took up so much of my time, which I found extremely frustrating, as I was itching to complete the Dungeness series. Finally though, I completed the last of the nine paintings today. When they are all dry, I will be putting them on my website. Meanwhile here is one of them. Painted from my memories of looking out of the kitchen window, at Prospect Cottage, this one is titled “Big Skies and Cottages, Dungeness”. It is oil on board and measures 30 x 24 ins.
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 ………
Its been fantastic to have some lovely warm weather (although a good deal cooler than the rest of the country). My daughter (pictured below), and I made the most of it with a lovely afternoon at the beach.
I love to do quick little colour sketches, as an aid memoir to my oil paintings. I use gouache paint, as it is the least messy medium that I can get on with, out and about.