The next two pages continued the focus on the activity of the garden with strong textural images.
‘Dead-heading’ the plants seemed to be a time for enjoying the faded beauty of the flowers and I wanted to try to express the beauty that I could see in the petals and remains of flowers as they were taken from the place where they had been so beautiful. This next experiment, like the previous one, used strong textural elements found in the garden. I tried to express the manual practical element of the activity with the use of dead bamboo leaves vaguely in the image of a trug, surrounded in impressions of flowers. The flower petals were mostly done with a simple stroke of the palette knife but I also wanted to see how it would look if one of the flowers was portrayed representationally – quite like this effect. Interesting experiment but not one which I feel I would take further without a lot more creative thinking.
It has been an interesting development in my creative journey with the garden to be gathering bits and pieces from the garden to use in the painting sketches. It brings a connection that is beyond just looking and listening. Somehow the action of walking around, gathering up dead bamboo leaves, petals from the ground, seeds as they fall from the trees has brought me in touch with the ‘feel’ of the garden. I went back to the many books I have on the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long and once again appreciated their involvement with the earth in their creative images. I then spent a day just ‘touching’ the garden and gently placing different elements in patterns and shapes.
I think it could have been the very personal experience of ‘touching’ the garden in these previous images which led to the next experimental sketch – a purely abstract painting of the ‘feel’ of the garden. I began with a putting down some strong colour with the palette knife to depict the structural elements of the garden. I then added textural elements with coloured yarns, sacking and beads to express the ephemeral nature of planting and colour. I enjoyed the freedom of doing this piece, creating a response simply through my impressions and experience.