Oil painting of the allotment in Pilton, Somerset showing vegetables & shed Liam O’Farrell

An oil painting of the allotment in Pilton, Somerset

During the lockdowns, I decided to embark on a large project based in my home village of Pilton, Somerset. I mused over a few ideas but finally settled on the village allotment.

Over the years I have painted many allotments, some real locations and many manufactured from a collection of sketches and ideas.

With the Pilton allotment I had already drawn in and painted it several times, so I was familiar with the landscape.

My approach to painting the Pilton allotment

Like all my work, it wouldn’t be a traditional, accurate depiction as most artists do but an idea of ​​the allotment. As I say in my ‘About me’ section:
“Accurate perspective however is all well and good, although in creative terms it can only deliver so much. I tend to adjust and push things about until it feels right. If that means geometric perspective is abandoned, then that’s fine. It’s all about the overall impression.”

drawing of the allotment in Pilton Somerset 3 drawing of the allotment in Pilton Somerset 2

Essentially, I take a medieval and Early Modern approach to creating a painting. If a part is interesting to me then make it bigger. If it is not interesting to me, then make it smaller or just leave it out completely.
I will also adjust time, seasons, plants and crops. Here you can see spring Dandelions in with Autumn Pumpkins.

The reason for this is that when we think of an allotment or garden our minds leap to the parts that interest us the most so, Roses will be right next to Snowdrops. In essence we condense time in our minds. In response I condense time in my paintings. I also took the opportunity to condence scale too. I took in a whole landscape and added a bee in amongst it all. It may take a while to spot. This inspired the title ‘A bee in a country allotment’.

I really enjoyed painting our allotment and the project helped me keep a little saner throughout the lockdowns and ever-changing rules and regulations.

The Pilton allotment in exhibition

It seems the New English Art Club (NEAC) were pleased with my painting too as it was accepted into their annul exhibition 2022.

Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1
23 June to 2 July 2022, 10am – 5pm

A fine, summer surprise for me. Many thanks!

The New English Art Club

“The New English Art Club is an elected society of contemporary painters whose ethos resides in art informed by the visual world and personal interpretation.

The Annual Exhibition is a showcase not only for its members but also for aspiring artists: with a history going back more than a hundred years, it is an opportunity for work to be seen alongside some of the best artists painting today, held at Mall Galleries in London.

Founded by a group of artists dissatisfied with the entrenched attitudes of the Royal Academy, the group mounted their first show in 1886 and work included paintings by Clausen, Sickert and Stanhope Forbes. The New English attracted younger artists, bringing with them the influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.”

A bit of history of Pilton Somerset

Though there has been a church on the current site since 725, Pilton is first is mentioned in The Doomsday book (commissioned by William I) and later administered by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey which is a few miles up the road.

Their vast Tithe Barn in Pilton still survives to this day. The Glastonbury monks, however, did not survive, as Henry VIII got rid of the lot during the reformation in the 16th Century.

Many of the local houses are built from the local blue lias stone. Pieces of this stone pop out of the ground with every plowing, so I suppose it was used through necessity although it’s very tough stuff and we have structures in Pilton that have been there for well over 500 years.

The other notable thing about Pilton is that it is the home of The Glastonbury Festival where our modest parish of 900 swells to over 200,00 for a week or more in June. Incredible for music and incredible for takeaway food too.

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