Gardens Art Trial NEWS

With under a fortnight to go before Black Dog Arts presents its Gardens Art Trail to the public from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July local artists are putting the final touches to the artworks they will be showing in Bungay gardens.

In these credit crunch times the Gardens Art Trail offers a free morning, afternoon or day out for all the family. Garden lovers will enjoy exploring six of Bungay’s finest gardens and art lovers will be able to see original fine art for free!

Thanks to a Suffolk Single Gateway/Arts for All grant Black Dog Arts gardens project has been able to offer local people four different kinds of activity.

Firstly, free Sunday afternoon sketching sessions were offered in each of the six gardens in turn.

Although Black Dog Arts offered these sessions as simply a chance to sit in splendid surroundings and while away an afternoon drawing stunning garden scenes or beautiful flowers and trees, some Black Dog Artists will be showing the results of these sessions as part of the Gardens Art Trail.

Secondly, local people were offered the chance to do one day workshops led by different acclaimed artists in botanical illustration, willow sculpture and printmaking.

Two professional botanical illustrators, Toni Hayden and Reinhild Raistrick, led two different workshops using two different techniques and approaches to botanical illustration, each inspired by flowers to be found in two of the six gardens taking part in Black Dog Arts garden project. Some of the successful illustrations that came out of these workshops will also be on show as part of the Gardens Art Trail.

Following a short sketching session in one of the gardens by Bungay castle, fine art printmaker Annette Rolston led a workshop on making and printing with stencils to create monoprints. Again, after a quick drawing session in a different garden that sweeps down to and over the river, acclaimed printmaker Marilyn Jeffries led a workshop on making and printing with drypoint plates. Some of the successful prints made in these workshops will also be on view in one of the “browsers” to be found in each garden.

Thirdly, Black Dog Artists were offered the chance to team up with one of the six house and garden owners taking part to create work especially for and about that garden. Six trios or pairs took up the challenge.

As a result fifteen Black Dog Artists have created original artworks inspired by “their” garden. These artworks will be sited so that visitors can see the artwork and the scene or plant that inspired it. Each of the drawings, paintings and other artworks will be displayed on its own easel in front of the view that is the subject of the work.

As some of the artworks aim to look like a particular sight seen from a particular point of view, visitors can have fun looking for and discovering the different artworks and comparing them to the original views they are based on!

As some of the artworks are sculptures, these will either be displayed on their own stands or, in the case of the willow sculptures created in sculptor Maggie Campbell’s workshop, hung in the trees like nests, or be found sprouting out of the trees that inspired them!

The variety of sizes, shapes and subject matter of the garden artworks is staggering.

Black Dog Artist John Hunt is one of the three artists who were “in residence” in “garden 1”: Rose Hall garden. One of his oil paintings is an exciting, brightly coloured, semi-abstract work entitled ” The Gardener “.

John Hunt’s “The Gardener”

John explains that “On one of my visits to draw at this garden it just so happened that it was the gardener’s tea break which I thought would make an ideal sketch.”

This sketch turned into a fantastic fantasy of a painting featuring the figure of the gardener.

Hilary Mullock is one of the two featured artists in “garden 2”, accessed off Trinity St. One of Hilary’s works is a delicate oil painting of “garden 2” and its most important inhabitant: Bella the cat!

Hilary Mullock’s painting “Bella’s Garden”

Hilary says, “Big leaf shapes and shadows combined with the striped markings of a beautiful cat reminded me of Henry Rousseau’s “Tiger in a Tropical Storm”. I began on a series of sketches from a cat’s view point and finally chose a combination of cat and a crambe cordifolia!”

Whilst visitors may spot Bella the cat, John Pitts long thin oil painting for “garden 5” includes creatures visitors are unlikely to see. The painting, entitled “Angelic visitors resting”, literally depicts angels among the foliage.

John Pitts “Angelic Visitors Resting”

John says “Inspired by the topiary, decorative features and hard landscaping of the garden, my picture combines views of this well tended garden with angels at rest adding a different perspective to the scene.”

The fourth, and final, element of Black Dog Arts garden project is, of course, the Gardens Art Trail itself. The trail is only on for two days so put the times, 11am to 3pm, and dates Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July in your diary now!

Most of the forty or so original artworks will be on sale if you want to buy someone a special present. If cash is tight but you would like a souvenir of the trail, postcards of fifteen of the works will be on sale for 50p each.

Leaflets, with maps on the back showing where the six gardens are, can be picked up from shops and public places where posters are on show.

The gardens in the Gardens Art Trail are all in easy walking distance from each other but, if you want to make a day of it, you can picnic in front of the Castle, or lunch in one of Bungay’s many fine hotels, restaurants or cafes.

If you would like to know about access for wheelchair users or access generally, give Jan from Black Dog Arts a ring on 01986 895227.

You can also ring her if you would like to know more about the Gardens Art Trail or Black Dog Arts.

So, here’s to enjoying fine weather, fine gardens and fine art for free!