Yesterday I took advantage of the good weather and went for a stroll in the beautiful walled garden at Marlay Park.  The plants and trees have come on so much in the past few years since it was first restored in 2000.  I chose a spot beside some beautiful pink roses and getting out my watercolours to paint after a long absence, combined with the heavenly scent from the flowers on the breeze was a potent blend for pure happiness.

The wonderful thing about going out sketching is that I can get time to spend in nature while actually working at the same time.  I enjoy being out in the open so much that it has become an absolute necessity for my health.  When I can feel the sun and the breeze, and hear the birds singing, I feel completely grounded and at peace with myself.  The scent of the roses was intoxicating and I couldn't resist photographing them close up, with a view to doing a painting later on.  

What is so lovely about the garden it it's old wall.  It was built towards the end of the 18th Century and when I am there, it transports me to another world.  While I was sitting painting I imagined how Mildred Anne Butler must have sat for hours creating her soft garden scenes.

The Garden Path by Mildred Anne Butler (1858 - 1941)

I love the timeless quality of her work.  For me, this style of watercolour will never go out of fashion.  There is also another lovely drawing of the gardens by Anne La Touch.  The house used to be called "The Grange" but was renamed when David La Touche married Elizabeth Marlay and bought the house in 1764.  I'm not sure what relationship Anne was to the family.  (Write to me in the comments if you know).

Marlay Park Demesne 1837 by Anne La Touche

My view of the garden.

The great thing about my sketchbook is that I can open it to a double page and lay out the panoramic scene which captures the whole atmosphere of the place.  I don't spend too much time trying to draw detail onto the rough watercolour paper (my sketchbook is supposed to be NOT (not hot pressed), a semi rough surface), but I've noticed the texture of the paper changes slightly if the weight of the paper is very heavy.  So I use the camera to take detailed 'notes'.  In all I spend about one and a half hours on the sketch and about thirty minutes wandering around the garden and taking photos.  When I get back to the studio I will use both the photos and the watercolour sketch to compose a new painting showing more of the foreground detail.

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