I'm often asked where I get my inspiration from. Some artists travel all over the world looking for the unusual and exotic but I find most of my inspiration on my doorstep - my own garden, neighbourhood and the fantastic Northumberland landscape. Wherever I go, I'm looking for colour, shape, pattern, contrast and outline. It doesn't have to be landscape to inform my landscape art - a striking colour combination can give me the thrill of delight that inspires and underpins my work.
As you will probably know, the colours for my landscapes are not all that realistic but they do have their basis in the colours of nature as I hope this selection of my photography will show. This year I've created my own calendar of colour from the flowers and leaves I've seen through the year.
May brings fresh new growth, lush greens, soft mauves and bright yellows.
(Violets, hosta, welsh poppies, allium)
June is the season of abundant growth and colour. There are many flowers I could've chose here but I've I focused on the soft pinks, golds and cream of iris, honeysuckle, poppy and a rather fancy looking foxglove I found in a neighbour's garden.
July is the height of the English garden in bloom with a scorching array of colours. I often seek out powerful contracts like the blue and orange shown here. From the left, day lily, alstromeria, iris and red hot poker (kniphofia) - a very elegant small orange one.
For me, august flowers are all about the rich, warm oranges and golds. Shown here: gaillardia 'Arizona Sun; one of the shade pots I planted at the Hearth Arts Centre; helenium; and bidens with a peacock butterfly taken at Wallington walled garden
September in the North of England is already autumnal but with a few days of good weather you can witness some late flowers. From the left: a palm with great shadow patterns; the fabulous begonia 'Glowing Embers', my entry for the allotment harvest show - a basket of flowers featuring dahlias, rudbeckia and crocosmia; and a rather good-looking nasturtium from a garden in Horsley.
October is all about leaf colour and I enjoyed getting some back-lit photos of colourful autumn leaves. As these are the colours I often use in my work, my eyes are drawn to them whenever I'm out for a walk this month. From the left Japanese Maple, Lantern flowers, not sure for next two!
In November, you're grateful for any natural beauty. The last of the autumn leaves and berries have a soft beauty. A hard frost transforms everything into a crystal wonderland.
In December and early January you see the first signs of returning life. These Christmas roses are now gracing the pots outside my studio. The pink viburnum is flowering very early. You can find exquisite seed heads when you look closely. Low winter sun brings a drama of light and shade.
I hope you've enjoyed my calendar of colour. Do let me know in the comments how you respond to the colours of nature where you are. How do you feel when you're out and about in nature whether that's in your garden, on a walk or on holiday?
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