Thursday, November 2, 2017

Painting at Tower Hill

My painter friend Kathy and I recently painted at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. Since there were crowds of people there to see the Ikebana Show, we found a quiet space outside, around the back of the Orangerie where a ready made still life of abandoned glazed and unglazed pots awaited our thumb nail sketching. 

I chose the stacked arrangement of a variety of Italian Terra Cotta pots, bricks and clay drainage pipes for plein air painting. The simplicity of the stucco building, with the wild vertical movement of the Virginia Creeper grounded with pots would make an interesting composition and red palette. 

Clay pots seem so simple at first glance.  They are such ubiquitous items of gardening.  Yet look at the form closely. Designed with tapering sides, this cylindrical form has a function to stack one inside the other for compact storage.  Then there's the ornamental beauty of the rolled rim and other exterior circumscribed lines.  Classic beauty made from simple earthy material.

In 19th century English estate gardening, there was a demand to specialized the form and function of clay pots to match the root systems of a wide variety of plants: tall, small, wide.

Here's another plein air painting but at the gardens of Steven Cooledge estate in North Andover in October. Love those leeks.