Monday 27 August 2012
Yesterday I had occasion to visit Kent with picture-making in mind. I took some photographs for potential townscapes in Bromley, then I visited the village of Downe - which has a beautiful church - before winding up at Downe House, just outside the village. Downe House's chief importance is that it was the home of Charles Darwin, an intriguing and inspiring figure in the history of science.
I wanted to paint "Darwin country"; the downland views that Darwin would have enjoyed (you may know that I have a liking for hills), but time was limited. I parked at the house and made my way through the gardens toward a likely looking spot, only to find that the majority of the hillside was covered in golf course. Disappointed, I turned back to the house.
I'd already noted the possibilities of the greenhouse (but space in the garden was limited, so I used my camera), and I recalled that Darwin was fond of his plants (and that the greenhouse was the site of some of his scientific discoveries). So the panorama of the greenhouse and the residence seemed fitting. Hence the title; Darwin's house, and Darwin's greenhouse.
I sat in the meadow, in the shade of some trees (it was a hot day), with the path to the sand walk behind me. I think I provided an extra bit of entertainment to the visitors.
Unfortunately, the car park closed at 5pm (I'd been in situ since around 2pm), and so I had to leave before the painting was finished. I completed it at home, using photographs to remind me.
Oil on canvas, 60 x 30 cm