The Creative Process: Portuguese Gardens

The surrounding gardens of a hotel provided the inspiration for a playful series of images using the seemingly random layout of trees and shrubs. The lack of formality lead to some unusual juxtapositions of shape and colour. Initially a series of collages, I really enjoyed introducing a looser style when applying the paint for the foliage and flowers which is contrasted with the almost flat background.

The more time I spent amongst the gardens the more I wanted to put down the shapes and colours I was seeing. The bright Mediterranean sunlight gave the foliage sharp edges and beautifully contrasting colours against a brilliant blue sky. Despite the deep shadows I began to see the final images as flat - almost like a stage set, where the scenery has been wheeled into place, which of course meant that anything could go anywhere - the freedom to compose the final paintings with no regard to formal notions of making it real. When I returned to the studio at home I made some quick drawings in a notebook - exploring different ways of making the paintings. The collages that I eventually made from the sketches hold all the information I needed to make the final paintings which are all about colour, using basic shapes nothing too sophisticated - overall plant shapes reduced to a graphic shape.

The original series of Portuguese Gardens is available to buy here (click through) and prints are available to buy here (click through).