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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beautiful Charleswood Garden

It has been a few weeks since I was able to join the Charleswood group on their Monday sketching excursions. Having freshly come off a plein-air oil painting workshop, I definitely wanted to do my "field sketching" in oils.

This week's location was a beautiful garden in Charleswood. We'd like to thank Deloris for arranging this visit. What was astounding about this garden is that it was conceived and designed only in 2008. To think that this family could design and build such a garden in a period of a few years is quite remarkable. Like many well designed gardens, it featured many different and distinct areas including a wall with a waterfall cascading over it. The day was sunny and pleasantly warm.

When you enter a garden like this, it can be overwhelming for an artist. There is so much to look at and it can be difficult to decide what view to paint and what you wish to say about it. Most people start by taking photos around the yard to keep as a reference point. On this day I found that I was able to zero in on what interested me almost immediately. There were a few lovely golden green tamarack trees in the yard which had towering thistles in front of them. I liked the contrast of the color and texture of the trees against the dark backdrop of background trees and the linear, vertical stems of the thistles topped with their mauve balls of flower.

We had two hours in the garden so I quickly set up and using a small support for the job was able to complete a study in the timeframe. The support was a birch panel that was gessoed with Venetian red. When I got home and saw the study in less light, I realized that the very intense red gesso really greyed out all the greens in my study. I added some highlights but will need to think more carefully about my choice of ground.

Wandering through the Charleswood garden

My chosen view for a study

An oil field study of thistles and tamarack tree