Sunday, 9 October 2011

My Grandma's garden

A couple of weeks ago I was in Belgium to spend some time with my family and I took a small oil painting kit and a couple of boards with me just in case. I was glad I did because I managed to do a quick study of my grandma's garden while I was paying her a visit. I need to say first that her garden is not any garden; it has been beautifully maintained and cherished over the years and won some local awards too! But then my Grandma is not any Grandma either. She is the most enthusiastic and energetic person I know and she is still out and about gardening and cutting the lawn at almost 90 years old! She is also a talented writer, artist and incredible pianist. What I call an inspirational person!

Here is the study I did:

My Grandma's garden, Malèves     10"x12"   oil on board

I painted this from the living room and had the french windows wide open:

I set up on the living room carpet and as I forgot my palette in UK, I borrowed one my Grandma's tray. (I promise I cleaned it afterwards and didn't stain the carpet!)

That's me with my painting smock. I'm aware I look rather ridiculous but it enables me to wear it over my clothes without having to change. So it's convenience before style here!

Here is my grandma, comfortably wrapped up who had been watching me paint with affection whispering several "oh" and "ha" here and there as I was gradually suggesting her plants and flowers in the painting. She was very happy with it so I'm glad it will turn into a nice souvenir.


  1. Very beautiful impressionist painting!

  2. Thanks Antonio for your very nice comment!

  3. Valerie,
    This is a beautiful painting. You did a terrific job on it. Your grandmother's garden is amazing; it has to be one of the nicest private gardens I have ever seen. What a wonderful and interesting person your grandmother must be and I can imagine how special her garden must be to you. My own grandmother passed away a few years ago and I dug up as many of her favorite plants, (roses, iris, lilies, wisteria, peonies, rosemary, even raspberries, and a lemon tree she grew from a seed) and kept them in pots until I bought my house and had my own garden to plant them in. Her garden was nothing like your grandmother's but she loved her plants as well as the prize bantam chickens she raised, and her quilting and sewing. Thank you for sharing this post.

  4. Thanks Douglas! I'm glad you like it as I know you know gardens very well and paint them often yourself. I wish I could show you the whole garden as the picture only shows one side. Your own story is very moving and I'm sure you cherish those plants everyday! (my grandma used to have extra piece of land where there were chickens and sheep too! Imagine how fun it was for us to see and play with as kids!)

  5. Hi Valerie.
    Lovely painting and photographs. I`m sure your Grandma was very pleased with it. Valerie, I was wondering whether you went with the Plein air group to Henley on Thames, I think it was three Sundays ago. If so, do you know whether all who went, will be posting your efforts? I went there with our Club the Sunday before and it was crowded with people watching the Pentathlon that was going on. There seemed to be thousands milling arround us. I hope you will be posting. Again, lovely painting and photos. All the best Valerie.

  6. This is a beautiful painting, but means so much more after reading your post. It sounds like you both are very lucky to have each other.

  7. You've painted a warm domestic scene, in words as well as paint. That really is a lovely manicured looking garden, and your painting does it justice. Your Grandma must be proud of you as you obviously are of her:-)

  8. Thanks Victor! Glad you like it! I'm afraid I didn't go to Henley on Thames so I have no pictures to post. I hope you had a good time in spite of the crowd. Take care.

    Thanks Sheriart! I'm happy you like the post and the story. I think this kind of story can touch everybody as it reminds them of their own grandma…

    Thanks Andrew! I saw your comment just as I was leaving a message on your blog! What a coincidence. I've been telling my grandma about the numbers of nice comments this post is getting and she asked me to translate them to her in french and send them to her - she finds it amazing that they come from all over the world!

  9. Quel joli souvenir!!! J'imagine bien Bonne-Maman, toute emmitouflée dans ses plaids, s'exclamer devant ton travail....
    kiss, Sophie