A Lily Pond of My Own | Painting Right in My Own Backyard

Right in my own backyard has double meaning in this series. Yes I have a pond outside my studio windows. Yet there is so much more here. And my pond doesn’t look like this!

Painting Right in My Own Backyard

In this story ‘my own backyard’ is inside me. I am painting these from within, NOT from any garden or pond that I have seen or painted. This is important. You may have read the beginning of this story last summer, when the first inkling came from a tiny watercolor I’d painted on my first day in France two years prior.

Water Lily Painting
A Lily Pond of My Own, oil

The unfinished paintings were clipped to a single board in the corner. Showing something else to a client, I moved a canvas exposing them to view. The one above was on top. Across the studio its colors coaxed me to stop what I was doing and listen.

I put her on the easel and sat in my chair across the room to hear what she had to say that was so urgent. An overwhelming urge for Ultramarine Blue in the shadow areas of the pond got me out of my chair. Mixing it up, I swung my brush rapidly at those places on the painting. More paint. More brush work. Sit back down.

Dorothy Fagan studio
The three canvases each took their own clip board, spreading out across the studio.

Color & Perception

In the photo you can see how I paint. The chair is on wheels back to the far right out of view ~ twenty feet from my easels. My palette is a large glass slab for mixing, a side table for tubes of paint, and a 7-drawer tabouret just below the cans of paint brushes.

Much of my color mixing is done by the viewers’ eye. Seen from across the room, you automatically blend color fields of paint. Seen up close, the paint is dry brushed like pastel over opposing colors. This creates a vibration in the way each color is perceived.

A Pond of My Own
A Pond of My Own, oil

A Lily Pond of My Own

Wanting to make everyone happy, to satisfy myself and keep the peace is a tall order. A bleeding heart I think they call it. An impossible role to fulfill sufficient to keep a person busy for a lifetime.

So. If peace is right in my own backyard and all I had to do was paint it how it feels to me ~ why oh why did it take me so long? And why do I feel like I can spend the rest of my life saying it over and over again?

I’ve always lived and painted in my own pond. Now I know enough not to mis-take everyone else’s as mine. Bleeding heart healed.

2 Backyard Garden Paintings in the Village of Mathews

Painting in Italy for two months, I’d wished to absorb the Tuscan lifestyle. I wondered what it would look like if it could seep into my paintings?

I think it’s finally beginning to show itself!

I painted these two small plein air paintings in my backyard garden of Mathews last week. I can feel the warmth and friendly nature ~ the joy of simply being here ~ in both of these paintings.

Village Mathews I, oil, 10 x 10

2 Backyard Garden Paintings in the Village of Mathews

A village landmark, this corner eatery is festive and popular with the locals. It could be in Tuscany? in Venice? in France? it’s in Mathews, Va!

I am so grateful to live in such a warm and friendly village.

This is painted on a cradled wood panel. It hangs flush to the wall for a really clean, contemporary look. Edges are neutral blue gray.

Hunkered in the shade of the Halcyon building, I turned my easel 90 degrees for another village view.

Painting my backyard garden with a cottage silhouette gave me a new way of seeing a local landmark. The old Sibley’s Store takes on a joyful disposition juxtaposed with the corner garden blooming across the street.

Even the pole garden beside it lights up. I find myself wishing for blooming flowers cascading from the front porch!

Village Mathews II, oil, 30 x 15
detail, Village Mathews II

Perhaps someone will be inspired to plant them?

2 Backyard Garden Paintings in the Village of Mathews

Painting in a Backyard Garden | Mine or Monet’s?

What grows in my garden is never quite as awe inspiring as what I’d imagined it would be when I planted it. I’ve had this dream of a lush garden like Monet’s Giverny. Really? A staff of gardeners, volunteers/NOT!

backyard garden
pinks and coneflower in my studio garden by the pond

Gardening and Painting have much in Common

I doubled the size of my sunny flower bed this past year. Tilling an oval shape out into the lawn, it is the only really sunny spot for flowers. Added leaf mulch from the compost, tilled it in, I finally got some flowers planted this spring.

You can see the pinks and magenta coneflower, and some shasta daisies in the foreground. Those glads are new too, along with some zinnia seeds I threw in below them.

giverny gardens
The Monet house is a wonderful backdrop for the Giverny Gardens.

Visiting Monet’s garden when I was in France was a dream come true. I am still thinking about the relationship between Monet’s paintings and his garden.

Structure plays a big role in any garden, especially true for Monet. The long horizontal facade on Monet’s house creates a wonderful backdrop for the entire Giverny Garden. Even this simple photograph shows off the purple flowers ~ more prominently than if the pink and verdigris backdrop were removed.

Painting in a Backyard Garden

This gave me an idea I’d been pondering about painting a series of cottage gardens. A pink cottage on my walk to the bay has been niggling away in the back of my mind for weeks. I still haven’t been back to paint it, the question about it remains and fuels this painting idea further.

backyard garden painting
my backyard garden by the pond

I tested it out on my own backyard garden. Using the silhouette of my house as a backdrop, I painted the pinks and purple Coneflowers in the foreground.

This is a small painting, 16″ x 16″. Though I envisioned a larger one, I resisted the temptation to paint larger.

This painting captures how I feel about my garden, my dream of having that Monet garden by the pond. Dreams are way more tangible than we give them credit. Dreams actually fuel many of the real things in life. This painting has made me realize that I DO have my own “Monet Garden” ~ it looks like my heart, not Monet’s!

Would you like me to paint your backyard garden? If you live within 150 miles of my Virginia studio or somewhere that I travel, I’d be thrilled to paint your garden. Learn more.

garden paintings
detail, palette knife painting