The great American writer Alice Walker (who penned ‘The Color Purple’) once said, “In nature nothing is perfect and everything is perfect”, which precisely sums up what wildflower meadows mean to me. Each individual flower is perfect, both its simplicity and in its function (which ultimately of course is to attract bees) but in a meadow, each flower joins with thousands of others to become a riotous, chaotic display of colour. Meadowlife is both a joy and a challenge to try and capture on canvas without losing any of the vitality. My meadow art is a celebration of nature.
When I’m stood in my beloved open-air art studio deep in the Devon countryside, I observe each season as the meadow changes dramatically in colour and tone. From the light varied greens of early spring, to the vivid reds, pinks, mauves and yellows of summer, and then the rich reds and burnt oranges of autumn. The skies change too, from soft greys to pale blues which in turn deepen to that cobalt clear blue we associate with long summer days. I think that the transitionary nature of our seasons is what makes living in the UK so special.
Painting Meadow Art En Plein Air
“Plein air” painting is about leaving the four walls of an art studio behind and painting outside – becoming part of the landscape which inspires you. For me, this is obviously the meadowlands and wild places which inspire my meadow wall art.
I love meadows in all their seasons. That is why I paint outside to try and capture that fleeting moment before the light changes and the scene alters… and the moment is gone – it will never be repeated – not exactly. And that is what is so wondrous about painting, trying to capture that moment in nature that will never be the same.
Creating paintings of meadows takes so much time to get ‘right’ because there are so many multi-dimensional layers to consider when translating what I see in the real three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional canvas. For a painting to be truly representative of the beauty of a meadow, it must suggest depth. The form of shapes and each of the hundreds of shades and colours I use must distinguish themselves from one another. I incorporate layering techniques similar to those learned when I studying Fine Art painting to make my Devon meadow art sparkle and sing. The layered washes and thicker impasto areas almost create their own language which captures the vibrations of the meadow, and I love the transparency that occurs and the visibility of the many, many layers that create the finished piece of plein air meadow art.
I have noticed when travelling up and down the country the growth of urban meadows; that small pocket of land in a roundabout or the verge by the side of the road where some inspirational council, individual or perhaps a guerrilla gardener has sown some wildflower seeds and the result is not only a wonderful display of colour and scent, but a haven for bees and other wildlife in the city.
Providing a habitat for all our urban wildlife, particularly our declining bee population, is hugely important. Some companies recognise this and are putting beehives and flowers on roof tops – a wonderful initiative that must benefit their staff too- to be surrounded by flowers is to instantly feel better … to be able to breathe.
Glittery Meadow Art Which Sparkles
When nature is studied closely, the depth of colour and variations in light seems almost other-worldly. I try and replicate this by using gold which adds a richness and depth to my meadow art. I use authentic gold leaf because of its ability to illuminate and dazzle. The glitter is sourced carefully and contains diamond dust amongst other ingredients. I also use copper and silver leaf, depending on the final effect I wish to produce. Light-reflecting glitter helps to give extra depth, and contributes to the three-dimensional visual splendour of my glittery meadow art.
Paintings of Wildflowers
From shy wood anemones to cheeky cow parsley, to the contrast of soft powder-blue harebells with the spiky but oh-so-beautiful teasels, all of these flowers are so different yet equally as beautiful and hard to pin down as they sway in windswept meadows. I want to capture the feel of the meadows as well as the flowers, to recreate that constant sense of movement.
Wildflower meadows are so very special. There is that moment where you come out of a wood into the sunlight, or walk up a lane and there it is in front of you: the jostling flowers, the scent, the underlying hum of insects, like a secret which only you are party to. And it is then I feel a real connection with nature … just me, the sunlight and the wildflowers and I can lose myself in it for a while.
If you would like to know more about my meadow art, or maybe you are interested in buying one of my prints, canvasses or cards, or are thinking about a commission please get in touch! Join my vibrant communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too, we can’t wait to welcome you…