Oil on canvas
40 x 40 x 3 cm
While hiking up the white cliffs at Kingsdown Leas I came across a beautiful white house and wonderful wildflower meadow.
There seemed to be something particularly awesome about the scene. I felt amazing as though the air had a magical spell over me and I could breath in this beauty. Naturally I wanted to paint the scene and the feeling.
I began a large painting of the wildflower meadow and a white house on the cliffs in July. Since then I have been back many times and watched the flowers change with the seasons. I began a series of smaller wildflower paintings once the large painting was finished.
After I started the paintings I was explaining to friends that I had seen this incredible meadow of wildflowers that felt really different. A couple of days later my friends sent me an article in The Guardian about the regeneration project on the White Cliffs of Dover, which includes this meadow.
The Kingsdown Leas is a site of specific scientific interest and lies within the Kent Down area of outstanding beauty. Small tress and shrubs have been cleared to allow the rarer plants and wildlife species to flourish.
"A well known piece of the British landscape that had become depleted of flora and fauna because of years of intensive farming is alive with wildflowers, butterflies and birds this summer.
Since the National Trust acquired fields on top of the white cliffs of Dover two and half years ago after a £1m national appeal championed by Dame Vera Lynn, it has worked to restore the area to rich grassland.
The charity is excited at the results, reporting an increase in birds including skylarks, corn buntings, partridges and meadow pipits. Peregrine falcons are benefiting from an increase in wild pigeons, a main source of prey.
A “bumblebird” seed mix, which includes cereals, brassicas and wildflowers, was sown last autumn to provide birds with a supply of food through the winter, and a range of nectar-rich plants for pollinators in the summer. The wet winter that followed helped create an explosion of colour.
Virginia Portman, the general manager at the white cliffs for the trust, said: “After many decades of intensive farming, it’s fantastic to see this stretch of the cliffs buzzing with wildlife again. “The cliffs hold an incredibly special place in our country’s history, but they’re also important for nature as much of the habitat we have here, chalk grassland, is increasingly rare in the UK." The Guardian, 4 July 2020
Many of the wildflowers are considered weeds. This Greater Knapweed is a perennial herb native to lime rich soils such as those on the Dover Cliffs. It is a highly valuable plant for bees and butterflies.
In these small paintings you can see the abstract elements in the spaces between plants.