I am a flower show convert! Up until Chelsea Flower Show 2015, I had never attended a flower show (Well unless you count Gardeners World Live where I spent a lot more time in the Good Food section sampling ice cream than I did perusing the perennials). Admittedly I’ve never been that bothered with the idea of attending, I figured I had been to enough Garden centres and I have enough friends and family with beautiful gardens for me to visit! But this was something else. As you wander around the incredible show gardens you become absolutely absorbed by the creativity of it all. And the people who have made these masterpieces aren’t Gardeners alone, they must be recognised as artists, designers, architects and visionaries. Inspirational stuff! This is NOT a day out at the garden centre, it is a chance to stand amongst gardens that I have only ever seen in books and oil paintings. How lovely to be in that scene, the fragrance, the sounds of happy bees and the sunlight dancing on the pond. I of course now hope to attend many more.
We recently hopped over to Holland for a friends wedding (which was absolutely beautiful!) and a little backpacking adventure. Safe to say we ate the best pancakes we have ever had and sat in some very nice little pubs and even a windmill brewery. Sometimes there is nothing better than a weekend away with some of the people you love, knowing that the only necessary tasks in hand are 1) Find good food 2) Find good drink 3) Find good view. And happily it was very easy to find all of the above in one nice little slanted canal side dwelling.
Obviously one of the highlights of Amsterdam for me was the flower market. Buckets and buckets of beautiful tulips, roses and lilies all perfectly presented in rich colours. I wanted to paint everything there and then!
Another huge highlight was the Van Gogh museum which I thought was exceptional. Never having been a huge fan of “the Sunflowers” and therefore Van Gogh (sorry!) I didn’t anticipate being that taken back. But what a brave guy artistically. We talk about knowing and building your brand (which is really important!) But we can be scared to try anything stylistically different for fear of straying from our brand. Van Gogh seemed to try it all, and still achieve an end piece that was unmistakably his own “brand”. Such a great variety of styles and compositions.
I love how pleased he was with his masterpiece – even if its not my favourite – where some of his work remained unsigned perhaps because he wasn’t pleased with it, his signature is right in the middle of the sunflowers painting, in BIG red letters. It makes you think that little bit harder about what you’re doing, because dont we all really want to create something that makes us so pleased we want to write our name in huge red letters across it!?
It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks with various endeavours. The hubby and I popped to London to visit family and friends and ended up in distinctly quirky Camden Lock. What a great place! We could have eaten everything, particularly those scrumptious bagels and the lorry load of doughnuts and cronuts…although I’m still not really sure what a cronut actually is…but I know I want one.
It’s definitely a place I’ll be going back to explore for inspiration. We were headed for Borough Market in Southwark, but found it’s closed on Sundays! Devastation followed. Thanks to Deliciously Ella, I regularly see photos of incredible fruit and vegetable laden swanky market stalls on my Instagram feed. We’ll make it there again soon I’m sure!
So after a great weekend with lovely people, lots of hilarity and many delicious calories we were homeward bound to the Midlands. I had a few new commissions to work on whilst sitting at my table in the window of our new home. This lovely customer wanted something fresh and zesty, with some summery Helenium in crisp white and punchy green, it’s put me right in the mood for summer, please summer, do come soon!