A GARDEN GEM IN THE FOREST:
What a beautiful place, tucked away in the middle of a forest in the wilds of Suffolk. I travelled to Fullers Mill on 16th May meeting up with the Iceni Botanical Artists Group, of which I am a member, and we had a great day of painting and drawing. Bernard Tickner, local hero for Lackford Lakes Nature Reserve, and one-time master brewer, owned and lived at Fullers Mill for many years and built up the garden in his own fashion, collecting plants from all over the world with his wife, Bess. Bernard outlived his wife to the age of 93, passing away in November 2017. The Iceni Botanical Artists (IBA) decided to honour Bernard’s life and contribution to the preservation of nature with a series of paintings of the Fullers Mill Garden and its plants. These paintings will be shown with other floral artworks at the IBA’s upcoming exhibition at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds from 14th August to 9th September 2018 (click HERE to view poster and details).
My day at Fullers Mill included partaking of the delicious cake and coffee available from the little cafe, as well as purchasing Bernard’s Book: “A Scratch in the Soil” relating his life and times at Fullers Mill and beyond. A fascinating read, and all proceeds from the sale of the book go towards the upkeep of the gardens for the nation. I walked around the gardens several times with camera in hand, but mostly just taking in the varied vistas, from the River Lark which runs right through, to the almost dried Mill Pond, the large lake at the back of the garden and all the different flowers and plants. It was an extremely cold day and most of the other artists went home before lunchtime. But I stuck it out till 5.00pm because I was playing in a tennis match at Newmarket on my way home, so no point leaving early. I did a few flower drawings using my Polychromos oil pencils, but mostly just enjoyed the atmosphere, the flowers and the wildlife. This was the first time I had spent time out en plein air, proper, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Today was the first day of the second weekend of my Exhibition under the Cambridge Open Studios banner. I am open all four weekends and today I saw as many visitors as I did over the whole of the first weekend. As there were gaps in between visitors I decided to begin work on my Fullers Mill painting. Below are some photographs of the progress I made, and below them are some photographs I took whilst at Fullers Mill in May. Thank you to all those people who have visited me so far, and I look forward to welcoming all those lovely people yet to come either tomorrow or in the next two weekends.