In Spring, 2005, Chris was out walking with his camera, searching for inspiration after a cold, dark winter being cooped up in the studio. At that time he had a passion for old garages and garden sheds found at the back of terraced houses. There was something fascinating about them, the muted colours and flaky textures evoked memories of long hot summers and a childhood past.
Whilst out walking in the low afternoon light of early springtime, Chris got a scent of wood smoke. This led him to an allotment where he found Melvin, who seemed to have the whole place to himself, working away on his plot in a world of his own, digging and raking the remnants of a long winter.
Chris had recently been to visit the South of France, staying in the Town of Arles, where Van Gogh lived and painted many studies of the Harvest, fields and workers. This left a lasting impression on Chris and it was there he realised that being an artist was a life choice, and to be successful was to dedicate one's life to it.
That day on the allotment all the elements came together to inspire a new body of work. Beautiful landscape, still life, buildings, figures, and crumbling sheds. Chris immediately rushed back to the studio, He was hooked.
"There’s a kind of nostalgia surrounding allotments that evoke images of granddads in vests with flat caps. This is a stereotypical view that is not a true reflection of modern day allotments, but there is still something quintessentially English about allotments along with the people’s friendly banter that inspires me to paint them. “
In 2007, I was introduced to Bob Andrew, a life long allotment holder at a local allotment site. I sat for hours in his shed, chatting and listening to stories of old, and an hour later I was on the waiting list for my own plot!
It is great to see my 6 year old son Drew helping out and growing his own produce. The other obvious benefits of fresh air, regular exercise and a general feeling of well being are an added bonus. Having a place to escape to, a sanctuary to contemplate the balance of life and nature is good for the soul.
You can't rush a good cabbage, or a good painting!