Mel Davies

Find out about Mel's painting of his garden.

July 16th, 2020

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“My Garden” an oil painting on canvas.

“To begin with, my garden in all reality is tiny. It faces the wrong way and doesn’t get full sun until one o’clock in the afternoon. I can’t grow Lupins or Chrysanthemums in it, and it swarms with slugs and snails that thrive in the drystone walls. Conversely and on the positive side, it is walled and is home to over hundred and fifty different varieties of plants and trees and encourages birds and wildlife as a stopping off point. It has matured relatively well, and we harvest five kinds of apples and pears.

Gardens (and the things that grow there) are in my blood. I don’t claim to be as green fingered as my late Mum, who it seemed had only to lean a brush against a wall and it would start sprouting, and who grew cuttings and seeds purloined from all the National Trust gardens we visited. “The Gardeners expect it!” she would say, while trying to secrete seven feet of hot house climbing Geranium into her handbag, while us kids had to keep look out, in case they didn’t. I remember one occasion when a member of the landed gentry helped her off his rockery, which she had scaled like Sherpa Tensing. Now my own plot gives me so much pleasure and not a little heartbreak. On occasions pet rabbits, stray footballs and retromingent cats have all taken their toll, usually just as something is on the verge of flowering, after four years of nurturing! But above everything, it has inspired me and my drawings and paintings on and off for over thirty years.

This painting is loosely based on the garden, when it is burgeoning, in the Spring. All the plants I have painted actually exist there but as Morecambe and Wise would say “not necessarily in that order” I also paint stuff from memory, so I tend to go for effect rather than botanical accuracy.  One benefit of a painting over the real thing, is that I am able to edit out the problematical areas. The scrubby gravelly bit that regularly gets drowned when the washing machine plays up and the rampant ivy, which covers everything that stands still for more than five minutes. I love the fact that as an artist, I can add extra acreage and borrowed landscape when it suits my narrative. This painting is currently the largest one I have done of the garden and coming in at a generous twenty square feet, it is only marginally smaller than the real thing!”

Mel Davies, 2020.


Find out more about Mel’s exhibition here.

This painting is available to buy from the gallery for £2000 or £200 a month on the Own Art Scheme.

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