Aside from having a picture of my garden professionally painted, I am also thinking of painting my own picture. Not of my own garden, but of anything really.

I attend a life drawing class each week and while I sit and draw the model perfectly competently with the pencils and crayons which are the precise, calm tools of my trade, the other students use all manner of paints and chalks, and arrive bristling with brushes, bottles of turps, easels, palettes and smocks and quickly set to to create real works of art.

It is really like sitting with some twenty – first century french impressionists.

Their product is somehow more muscular and vivacious and I want to be part of that gang.

So……..not to be outdone by these flash guys I thought I would choose a subject, take a photo, buy some materials, and practice at home before I tried the serious and potentially bloomer-ridden job of painting in public. I mean I haven’t done that since o’level!

I decided that I would like to paint the Georgian calm, severity of Redland church framed by its avenue of characterful plane trees leading to it. So last sunday, in glorious spring sunshine, I drove there imagining wonderful shadows and light effects. They were there, but I discovered I had imagined the scene completely wrong. For some reason I had imagined that the plane trees were pollarded. I thought they would be like this:

Instead they were like this:

I wanted a kind of gawky, Van Gogh-esque procession leading to the church, like this:



Instead I had this:

What I am going to do about this I have no idea. I have to try the paints, but need to feel that I love the subject – like garden design, there would be no point in doing it otherwise. This is beautiful, but they dwarf the church. Whereas, I wanted the dramatic build up and then the calmness of the focal point at the end.

My feeling is to try one of the other photos which has some of the necessary rhythm such as this:

After all I am really just trying the paints. Why do I have to be so pretentious!

But it did make me realize why I love pollarded trees, in their place. I love the released free beauty of trees in some situations, but in others, it is the comination of their very character, the intervention of the gardener with the plant and the enthusiasm to have what you want where you can.

They are not popular with all, but I love them!