The Adorable Plot: Paintings and Writings about Garden Allotments
Tessa Newcomb and Philip Vann
‘By visiting allotments, I have been able to share people’s pleasure in growing things…the form my gardening takes is observing and drawing other people enjoying their gardens and allotments,’ says Suffolk-based artist Tessa Newcomb. Her paintings and drawings of English allotments in their infinite variety beautifully evoke diverse improvised layouts of fruits, flowers and vegetables (and often stubborn weeds). To say nothing of anarchic shanty towns of distressed, rudimentary huts, the widespread use of everyday detritus such as gleaming discarded CDs to keep pigeons out of peas, and alarmingly vivid blue plastic water butts.
Tessa’s pictures are complemented by her perceptive, often humorously pithy writing. She explores the mysterious intimacy of allotment holders with wider nature including ‘scatty hens’, elusive moles and horses and goats grazing on scrubland. She notes the generous sharing between neighbours on allotments – as well as fierce competition reaching its height in delightfully ostentatious annual produce shows – and the kind of wildness paradoxically being cultivated by one man (seen in one of the paintings) who has virtually disappeared in a fertile colourist morass of vegetation, audacious orange flowers and wire fencing unravelling all over the place.
The Adorable Plot celebrates the endless care and dedication, even in bleak, unpromising conditions, shown by most allotment holders, along with their rare freedom of spirit and joy in the seasons and the natural cycles of planting, growing and harvest.
270 x 210mm