I have recently had a wonderful week in the garden of England with girl friends Gill and Lynne, we stayed in a cottage in the village of East Stourmouth, a lovely rural spot but which is very central for visiting the sights in Kent. There was a footpath sign right outside the cottage, so you could go for a lovely walk in the countryside but you weren't far from Canterbury, Margate, Whitstable or Dover. We packed in so much - Canterbury Cathedral, Goodnestone Park, walking the white Cliffs of Dover, tried to visit the Turner Gallery, went to Sandwich and Deal, had a wonderful day bird watching at Stodmarch Nature Reserve, dyed fabrics and caught up on films every night.
We took lots of photographs and Gill and Lynne each compiled a journal which they updated everyday but I decided to wait till I returned home to consider what I had seen and its relevance. I had been about to start a new sketchbook but felt a reluctance to make the first mark, not sure whether I should change direction. But looking at my photographs I saw a familiar theme - pathways and, a familiar sight in Kent, orchards both of which again put me in mind of Alfred Wallis.
The new sketchbook cover.
There is an Alfred Wallis picture titled Sailing Ship and Orchard - I have replaced the sailing ship and sea with a row of houses and garden paths - I love the way he depicts an orchard the white spots being blossom I presume - and of course this was just how I saw the orchards when we were out walking. There was also an assortment of cottages along the road through East Stourmouth.
The fields in Kent, as in Essex, were very yellow with rapeseed and I seemed to take a lot of photographs of pathways.
The colour theme of the greys and yellows would make a good combination for my third piece in my "On the Edge" series - moving from winter to spring. And I very much like the idea of an orchard. When dying the fabrics I experimented with using Buttercup yellow and Lime with Bronze together with Manutex used as a resist.
We visited Deal and sat in the cafe at the end of the pier to wait to see the ball rise and fall at the Timeball Tower - www.dealtimeball.co.uk The Deal Timeball Tower is a Victorian Maritime signal located on the roof of a four-storey tower in the coastal town of Deal. It was established in 1855 (same year as the birth of Alfred Wallis) by the Astronomer Royal. I like the colour combination of the sand and the pale blue and Deal has a lovely seafront full of little houses.
Above is my version of White Houses by Alfred Wallis and which together with the photographs I took of Deal seafront could be an idea for future work and a variation on the subject of Rolling Landscapes. Next year I am giving a workshop in Yorkshire on Rolling Landscapes and this could be an alternative - rolling seafront!!
Above is a photograph I took in Canterbury Cathedral (the part where you are allowed to take photographs) which reminded me of the Angel that I found in the Antique Centre in Sawbridgeworth. I had turned the flash off on my camera - I was quite amazed that I got this fabulous shot.