Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Monday, 24 January 2011


In 1980, Bryan Organ painted a picture of Prince Charles.

I seem to remember there was a fuss. I’ve been googling away and can’t find a trace of what was said at the time. It will be there, of course, buried under all the articles I’m not looking for but I’ll leave that aside for the moment. There’s always a fuss. No-artist can please everybody.

This painting pleased me though.

I remember going to see it in the National Portrait Gallery and how it touched my humour. At the time, it seemed more to be a portrait of a flag and a fence than of a prince. But the flag and the fence would have been much less memorable, would have held much less meaning, if there hadn’t been a man in the foreground. If he had been standing, instead of sitting on a mundane wooden chair (a nice one though, blue) the image would have faded from my mind. And the best thing is, so much space is taken by the flag and the fence and the blue, blue sky, there’s not enough room for the whole of him; one whole foot, a toe and a heel are missing.

I’ve been trying to re-construct how I saw the world before I saw the painting. And failing. I can’t remember whether I liked the painting because I could already see that some things are so important, they don’t fit fully in the frame; that the power of the whole can be displayed more completely if all of the whole shape isn’t in view; that space is as important as content; that straight lines and bold skies are . . . don’t know - but I like them.

I just can’t remember.

Did this painting inspire to such a degree it has influenced the kind of photos I have taken ever since? Or did I warm to it because I recognised a fellow ‘eye’?

Reconstructing is made extra hard because, back then, I hadn’t had much access to a ‘proper’ camera. I have little with which to compare.

The point of this will emerge in a moment.

Just for now, back to hedgerow photos when the light has gone black and white.

When I took this photo, I thought this tree was a young lime (Tilia). I now think it might be a sycamore or maple. I’ll see more clearly come the spring.

From light and twiggy to heavy, dark and solid-leafy all year - Holm Oak (Quercus ilex).

An oak of some other kind. (Turkey Oak? - Quercus Cerris.) (Very scientific, this!)


And . . . tantarantara . . . ! The reed (Phragmites communis  - I think!)

which reminded me of Prince Charles.

You can see more of my photos at Message in a Milk Bottle and Pictures Just Pictures.
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This post is listed in the Festival of the Trees 56 , February 1st 2011 which, for this edition, is hosted by Treeblog.

For information about future (and past!) Tree Festivals, click the picture below.

Festival of the Trees


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I think the painting captures his essence nicely, but the fence is just a little too stark for me, personally. It is interesting to reflect on where one's perspective, influences come from. P.S. Look! I left a comment! I've missed doing do.

Lucy said...

I've missed your comments too, Monica. Thanks for this one.

The painting is large and I too found the starkness of the fence overwhelming when I first saw it. It looked very military as well. It 'grew on me' as time went by. Interestingly, Prince Charles' face has changed and grown older in my memory-version. I was surprised how young he looked when I tracked the image down today.


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

You've got me thinking I need to spend more time looking at paintings. Your images of the stark branches against the sky do have more power than an image of a whole tree. I do struggle with determining what to include in an image and what should be left out.

Elephant's Eye said...

For us benighted people at the other end of the earth - is there an online link to a picture of the portrait?

Cropping pictures is more fun than taking them. Altho the Photographers say you should Fill the Frame. Can't.

Lucy said...

Hello Mr McGregor's Daughter. Your comment interests me because the photos of garden bloggers don't necessarily need to be 'artistic' yet nearly all get drawn into thinking quite a lot about photography. How often they go on to study paintings too . . . maybe we will set a trend!

Diana - I think our eyesight must be oddly different. I find your links difficult to see. Now you don't notice mine! Click the words 'a picture of Prince Charles' (in the first sentence - they are green to show they are a link) and, abracadabra, the image will come up.

Come to think of it, it may not be our eyes but our screens. It's always a bit of a bother to know what one's blogs look like on other people's computers.


Mark Willis said...

It's not just the fence that looks stark. Why the flag? Why is Charles wearing those ridiculous tall boots? And how come the picture has blue sky instead of English grey? Lots of incongruities, in my opinion...

Angie said...

I prefer your photos!!! In the portrait of PC it looks like the flag is 'growing' out of his head (plus it's right in the middle of the canvas! Thought that was a no-no). BTW the flower on my last post was a Mandevilla.

Lucy said...

Hello Mark and Angie. I will restrain myself from saying why I think the flag is in the centre and seemingly growing out of his head . . . a bit later. It will be interesting to see what others say first.

That's a lovely flower on your post, Angie. I don't think I've come across a Mandevilla before.


Rosey said...

Charles was quite fetching in his youth!

And now his son...quite a looker and is he married yet? I knew he was engaged.

Your photos are tremendously dramatic! My camera seems to gather dust in the winter...I should get outside and shoot some starkness.

Elephant's Eye said...

Lucy - your links show orange, turn green when clicked on. Mine turn pink when moused over, yours play dead and stay orange ;~)

That painting is dramatic, pause for thought sort of thing.

Sometimes I look at my blog on his desktop, instead of my laptop. Especially when I have made changes recently.

Lucy said...

Hello Rosey. Prince William isn't married yet.

Yes! Try some starkness. I'd guess yours would be even more dramatic than these.

Diana. Now the Loose and Leafy links turn pink when hovered over; specially for you.


Angella Lister said...

I love that painting of Prince Charles. I think it's the best portrait ever made of him, and i especially love your deconstruction of it, and analysis of how it influences your own art. Wonderful photos, too. I can see the relatedness though the mediums and subjects are so very different. Fascinating!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Interestingly, your Prince seems rather dwarfed by the fence, but not the British flag. I wonder if there was some reason behind that? You never know. I remember the painting. I like your branches against the sky/

Sort of a connection, have you seen The King's Speech yet? It is much beloved on my side of the pond. Of course, so many of us are Anglophiles. Have a great day.~~Dee

joey said...

The many perpendicular lines in the fence plus the tall flag (yes, growing out of his head) looks crazy ... it makes the vertical fence line look crooked to me (but the hour is late) :) Fun thoughts and fun photos, Lucy.

Plantaliscious said...

Love the images - and the painting. The reed, in particular, has a stark drama to it that I really like. You reminded me of an Autumn trip to Westonbirt with the extended family. My very-expert-photographer brother-in-law and I were both trying to capture Autumn colour and nephews discovering conkers. My photos were OK, his were amazing, particularly the portraits. Apart from the technical skill and superior lens, what made the difference was his framing. Sections of face almost full frame with space to the side instead of my tendency to try to capture the whole head and shoulders. So much more effective, and now I get distracted watching TV spotting how frequently the same technique is used. Remains to be seen whether I can learn to use that approach myself.

Sorry, long ramble, but in a nutshell I really resonated with how seeing a different take on a subject can jolt you into a new approach yourself.

Lucy said...

Hello Angela. I think we may be in a minority here but I'm glad I am not alone with my enthusiasm. Pleased you liked the post too.

Hello Dee. I nearly answered your comment, then decided I'd see if I could contact the artist himself to see if he would be prepared to explain the painting rather than me chipping in too soon with my interpretations. I've emailed the gallery he is mostly associated with and will wait a bit . . .

Hello Joey, I expect you would say the same even when you are less sleepy. Glad the post interested you though.

Hello Plantalicious. Don't worry about writing at length in the comments - it's always interesting to know what you and others are thinking. I'm not sure how advisable it is to spend too much time analysing the style of only one photographer / artist. We all have to find our own place.


Lucy said...

Dear Everyone.

I've enjoyed preparing these grey and black posts however, the weather has brightened a little (emphasise a little!) and I've taken advantage of this to post a new post about plants I found growing in a group of very tall walls. There's green in it!


Pat Tillett said...

I love seeing common things in silhouette. The next to last photo is my favorite of this group. Have a great day...

Anonymous said...

Great photos and quite a nice painting of young Charles. I see the similarity.