Saturday, 4 February 2012

Secret Garden


Just a few miles from my home is Castle Ashby Estate. It consists of a superb old house sitting in 10,000 acres of splendid Northamptonshire countryside with extremely extensive and tranquil gardens. Work began on the house in 1574 and continued into the early 1600's. At the suggestion of King William III in 1695, four great avenues of trees were planted but all bar one were removed by Capability Brown, the famous landscape gardener, in 1761. The magnificent gardens are open to the public every day of the year and consist of Italian gardens, an Orangery, formal gardens, Rainbow Borders, Spring Walks, an Aboretum, a Butterfly garden and a Secret Garden.


When I was last there I had strolled through the Butterfly gardens enjoying the heady scent of Lavenders, Buddlea and Hebe's and watched the butterflies and bees flitting back and forth as they went about their daily chores. 


Pen & Wash - 11"x 8"
I made my way from the Butterfly garden through the box hedges and came across this ... the secluded Secret Garden. Filled with Lavender, Roses, Jasmine and Salvia the scent was out of this world. I made my way along the Rose covered pathway and sat for a while in the shade of the Gazebo just soaking up the peacefulness and contemplating the rich tapestry of colours and textures that lay before me. 


I took some reference photo's because I just knew I had to paint it one day. I will be going back this summer and I will be taking my sketchbook with me.


  

40 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful place, John.
    Looks pretty good too, from your pen and wash :) xx

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    1. Pat, it's well worth a visit if you're ever in this area. Thank you.

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  2. Hello John. I wish I could take a look over there! Gardening is my second hobby so I'm very interested in gardens. It must be a peaceful place and I like the story you told about it. You made a beautiful painting through wich I can image how it must be there!

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    1. I'm a keen gardener too Renate. This garden is exquisite - you'd love it. Thank you very much.

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  3. What a beautiful peaceful place, John! You made a wonderful painting! The plants and trees are painted very well!

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  4. Sounds lovely and looks beautiful in your picture.

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful place, John!! and the way you explained it makes me smell all those beautiful flowers. This is a wonderful pen & wash. I love the colors in this very peaceful secret garden !

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    1. My painting doesn't do it justice Hilda. Thank you very much.

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  6. Nice one John. I also like the story as well.
    Well done and all the best.
    Vic.

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  7. Hi John, very complex subject but very well reproduced! Great job, really. Have a good w.e.

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  8. This is definitely a place I would like to visit...I just love the English countryside and the English 'savoir faire' regarding anything green, how lucky to be living nearby :-)I am a garden designer myself and very passionate about nature. Your watercolor finely captured the beauty and the poetry of the place, it is delicate and beautifully detailed. Have a nice sunday.

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    1. Jane, as a garden designer you would love this estate ... so many different moods and themes. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  9. How very beautiful, both the story and the painting.
    BJ

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  10. What a lovely scene. Wish I could bring my book and read right there! Where is the time machine when you need one? Your work is so serene and beautiful!

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    1. It's a lovely spot to sit and read Rose, and I know what you mean about a time machine ... I so need one of those. Thanks for the lovely comment.

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  11. Ooh John, this is a lovely painting and marvellous composition. Judging by your description, this is a place I must visit this year...

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    1. Frank, if you enjoy gardens this is well worth a visit. It would make a great location for a sketching day if you ever fancy a meet up. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I LOVE this! Pen and wash? I thought it was watercolour. I love the composition and those teeny red flowers in the foreground. It sounds and looks like just my kind of place :0)

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    1. Thank you very much Sandra, I appreciate that very much.

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  13. Lovely painting! You really captured the differences in all of the plant life. The variation of shapes and colours really brings it to life.
    Happy Painting.

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  14. you've captured lots of detail and sunshine john ...beautiful pen and wash

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  15. Lovely painting John, I can almost smell the flowers. Well done.

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  16. Pen and wash isn't easy and you have certainly mastered it. You have captured the beauty of this delicate looking garden.
    Jean

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  17. what a lovely sketch john! so much rich history, i hope someday to be able to visit Great Britain, so much to take in, including this lovely spot. beautifully done!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne. Oh, I do hope you visit us one day ... you'll love it here.

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  18. Lovely piece John! Nice fresh watercolours - and the skilled pen work helps to make this very much a 'Johnston' :) Looks like a fabulous place for a sketchday so if you and Frank do sort one out, then count me in too!

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    1. Oh, wouldn't that be great Michael ... a boys day out. Thanks for the kind words about my painting.

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  19. John,
    Looking at your painting I could feel each and everything you have written about. Wish to see the sketch whenever you do it.

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  20. Beautiful view colors
    I am afraid the colors a little piece of Alon does not

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