Crowleasow Farm is a Jacobean property near to Ludlow, part of the Downton Estate. It is surrounded by magnificent rolling hills and farmland. I spent the first day watercolour sketching the various possibilities of composition trying to marry the commissioner's wish to have the property represented in the vast landscape whilst also getting a sense of a home, being close enough to enjoy the oddities and character of the building but also really enjoy the vast oak that is stood in the garden of the property.
|One of four initial watercolour sketches that indicates where some of the trees had to be omitted to get a sense of the landscape surrounding the property|
This mighty Oak has become one of the key features to the property, it is mentioned in the Doomsday book and is over 1000 years old. The trunk has a girth of over 11 metres. It is largely hollow but is a real object of gnarled beauty.
The solution to getting this combination of wishes was to move and omit some trees and screens that surround the property in order to unlock the surrounding landscape from this close vantage point. This meant walking the easel round the garden taking extracts from different vistas. I even stood amongst a thorny rose bush to bring in the rose in the foreground, which along with Pearl the dog and the trees dappled shadow helps to break up the dangerously large area of lawn in the composition.
3 days painting the final piece plus one day sketching and preparation.