Monday, 11 July 2011

Van Gogh growing outside National Gallery….

Close-up of the area of the cypress tree and the sky

Trafalgar Square in London is an alluring place to go to watch people, to watch pigeons and to look at new outdoor art.  At the moment there is a fascinating development of art and gardening combined, propped up on scaffolding outside the front of the National Gallery.  Buskers are edging their way towards it as they see the responses that it harvests from the members of the public at that corner of the ‘square’.  Tourists and locals nestle into the foliage to have their photographs taken ‘as though lying down’ and it is all great fun.

People photographed 'lying in it'
This work is a collaboration of many people, from designers through to clients.  I have no way of knowing yet if I have the right idea as to who has been involved, the Landscape Institute announced the involvement of member Shelley Mosco of Green Graphite Ltd, Horticulture Week gave the names of ANS Group and Aldingbourne Nursery, while the whole thing is credited to GE (General Electric) by the National Gallery.  However large the team involved really is, the results are fascinating.

On scaffolding next to the entrance to the National Gallery
The painting the plant collage is celebrating is A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, painted by van Gogh in 1889 while he was staying in the St Remy mental home, near Arles.  Not surprisingly it is a painting owned by the National Gallery, who were doing a very good trade in fridge magnets inside the gallery the day I went.  It is a straightforward painting to use for ‘block’ planting, the blocking of the colours is highly conducive to it and the variations within the paint allow for variations within and between the different plants.  At the moment the distinctions between the different colouration of the plants can be a bit more subtle than was probably intended, but this could be a result of the overly wet weather postponing more mature foliage.  The choice of ivy for the cypresses should ensure that they retain their dark hue, and if the surrounding planting can lighten up a bit then the effect will be greatly enhance and this ought to happen as the summer progresses.  It will be very interesting to see what does happen.

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