Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Interpreting my bush.

My home is sited  in a bush valley complete with  a stream ,lake and swamp.

Since I have lived here for over forty years I have gained an intimate knowledge and feeling for the bush.

My property , I guess, was once on the outskirts of New Plymouth city but now , as the city has grown, the idea of the land nearby being farmed is hard to imagine - except for old barb wire fences, and some large poplar boundary trees. I even found some old wagon wheels while exploring one day!
Tawa trres

The bush is more or less as it was in pre -settlement days ( usually only rimu tees were felled  locally for timber and there are saw pits in the nearby bush reserve). The local bush is coastal rain forest comprising of pukatea, kohekohe, rewarewa, mangeo puriti, titoki  and tawa  - all of which  ( with the exception of Titoki)there are large specimens in my 'garden'.
Trees, vines and walkaway

In 1947  land was bought by Mrs ( later Lady) V C  Davies of Duncan and Davies fame. Mrs Davies planted a number of rimu and kauri trees which are now over 60 years old.  The land was then sold on to one of D&Ds landscape gardener Graham Miller in 1954 who built a small house which at the time only had a walking track to it. Graham planted a range of introduced trees - camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and maples. He also planted a kauri tree for each of his children. When he married he developed a sealed road to the house - and added to the house as his family required.

I bought the property in 1970 and although I have continued planting I have removed a number of large trees  planted when the property was bounded by farms - mainly big poplar tees but also camellia and conifers planted by Graham. Graham told me it was a 'wilderness garden' when he sold it to me  a concept that suited me but I have come to realize there is no such thing. Plants , near houses anyway, have to be trimmed  and even removed. The next big tree to be 'sorted out' is one I planted in 1970!

Vines and walkway
After years of benign neglect, now I am retired, I have spent more time 'taming' the section. I have developed  ( with a lot of help) a circular bush track right around the property  which was impassible in earlier days. The bush track has two bridges , several duck-walks and lastly an extensive  board walkway.

Rimu tree
Now I would like to develop paintings based on the trees in the bush. This offers considerable challenges - particularly how much detail to include. My intention is to develop some semi-abstract paintings that capture the essence of the bush - its dark and mysterious feel.

I have taken endless photographs but this is all too easy.

From observation and from photographs , plus a dose of artistic license I now
have a number of ideas to work on.  Drawing is the easy part - its the painting that provides for me the real challenge,
Half finished painting

Completed oil 

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