I had a very rare opportunity to sit an paint 'en plein air' the other day.
The painting is in acrylics on cloth and it is for a 'memory quilt' a friend of ours Rachel is making, and it will ultimately be given to my nephew Sid. The painting shows my sister in law Helen, with her dog Mandy, the picture is painted from Devils Dyke looking towards Saddlescombe Farm. When Helen was studying for her ecology and conservation degree she begun volunteering for the National Trust- who had recently acquired Saddlescombe Farm and managed this area from the South Downs from there. She ended up working for NT and was their recruitment officer based at Devils Dyke until she became pregnant with Sid. To my mind she was really in her element at that time- and almost as happy as in all the all the years I knew her- hence my choice of the view. She is shown behind the fence as she is now removed from us- looking back to happier times- with her beloved dog (who died a day after her)- showing giant hogweed, ragwort and Rosebay willowherb- all very common "weeds"- which fits the story perfectly as Hel was always a champion of the underdog.