Photo of white snowball hydrangea

Soft white

In these unplanned shots (as I was setting up my deck chair for breakfast) I wanted to capture the dappled, almost ethereal light on some newly emerging snowball hydrangeas before the heat of the day lit them up with all the stark sunlight of a hot July. Patterns of shade and dancing sunlight brought out the magic of the delicate green-white heads like vintage lace against the deep contrast of a shady corner beneath my tree.

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The walled garden

“The Walled Garden”, as I tend to think of it (it has another name), is a privatey owned garden in my nearby village which I first visited about twelve or so years ago when it was open as part of a local garden scheme. A change of owners meant I didn’t get to visit for quite a few years, though (being a lover of walled gardens) it had left an impression on me and I often imagined what lay on the other side as I drove past the red brick exterior on my way home. There is such of feeling of gaining access to “the secret garden” to be allowed beyond such a wall…

When I noticed that it was being opened in aid of the Air Ambulance charity just a few weeks ago, I was able to step beyond the wall once again and took these photos on a bright yet not too sunny afternoon (perfect for balanced shots). This collection is the result; an English garden caught at the height of summer in all its colour and texture along with just a touch of the ethereal magic that I associate with such a place.

Pure white flower in soft focus art photograph

Fierce beauty IV

Perhaps the deep contrasts implied by this subject are what spoke to me most. These tender, unfailingly optimistic flowers grow somewhere that has seen punishing climate and harsh conditions yet they grow on just the same. The vibrantly colourful carpet that they made just yards from a sacred site, birthplace of Saint David to a mother who, they say, was raped and gave birth in a fierce storm when the only place on that clifftop that wasn’t being ravaged by the elements was the small hut in which she was in labour. On seeing the way the rocks on the cliff were so carpeted by their spring colour, I was touched by the deep layers of metaphor in all of this, which spoke of the essence of the Sacred Feminine and all she has been through; how she has remained resilient and optimisic, holding her head up throughout. I found beauty in the contrasts and wanted to convey this in a painterly way.