I spent last weekend looking through and organizing hundreds of old photo's of the historic gardens I have worked in or visited over the last thirty years. I was getting ready to speak at the Highbriten Garden Club about my experiences working at Oatlands Plantation restoring the gardens with Alfredo Siani during the late 1980"s.
I found a photo I had taken of the orangery at Dumbarton Oaks. I decided to paint the scene. It was my last watercolor project for class. It makes a wonderful vignette of the corner of the room with the creeping fig scaling the walls and growing through the window. Garden scenes like this have always thrilled me. Much like the fairy tale books my father brought me filled with enchanted paintings of fairy tale gardens. I am sure I had a painting in mind when I shot the photo way back when. Art and gardens combine so beautifully. I love the vines growing around the oriental wood carvings along the walls of this building.
I used to spend a lot of time at Dumbarton gardens, visiting at all times of the year. It was designed by a woman, very rare in the USA, Beatrix Ferrand from 1922-1947. It is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever explored. Please enjoy the photo tour of the garden at the link above.
When I finished this painting I started reclaiming my kitchen, which has been an art studio mess for about a year. I moved all my art stuff into the basement I prepared last summer for a studio. It's amazing to have such a cozy painting space, I don't know why I clung to the kitchen counter for so long, except that that is where the sun shines into my dining room, and I get to look at my garden from the big glass doors. I have many garden scenes I want to paint this winter. It is so nice to be able to see my dining room table again. It is also amazing how much I have painted in the last year. But that is what I set out to do, just about a year ago...I wanted to practice the discipline of painting everyday.
What a difference it has made. Last winter, the last painting I did was frame able, after three months of disasters and experiments. It hung in an art show this summer. Today I realized my first painting done this winter is worth putting a frame on. I can't wait to see what I am creating by the end of this winters painting marathon.