Friday, June 29, 2012

Giverny, Texas Style

This past week with the temperatures around 100 degrees I met a group of intrepid painters in Weatherford, Texas at the Chandlor Gardens.  The Gardens are located near downtown in Weatherford which if about 25 miles west of Fort Worth.  The gardens were created by an transplanted Englishman who met an attractive red haired Texan and agreed to move to Texas only if he could have his gardens.  Over his remaining lifetime he turned a cow pasture into a series of walkways, stairs, pools, fountains, waterfalls and nooks that are nestled in among trees and waterways.  His gardens were created at about the same time as Monet's gardens with similar influences of Chinese and oriental motifs.  Mr Chandlor was also an artist, a noted portrait painter.  

He put together various materials to  form the elements for this highly personal garden.  There are latin phrases formed with bricks and stone, fountains made with touches of glass marbles, and various sculptures combined with tiles and stone.  He must have loved turquoise and there are many touches of turquoise and the bottoms of many of the pools are an unusual color or turquoise.  Those of you that have followed my blogs know that I love to paint at the Dallas Arboretum and the Fort Worth Botanical Garden.  But these gardens are different.  There are no vast lawn or planting of 5000 tulips to make you gasp.  There are just wonderful surprises around every corner that make you want to pick up a book and curl up and read.  These garden are intimate and reflect the loving care that makes gardening what is it.  Doug Clark summed it up when he said upon arriving that he did not know whether he wanted to paint of go go home and garden!

I found TK Riddle standing in the middle of a walkway with sprinklers going like mad.  She had taken off her shoes and was enjoying the cool well water used to water the plants happily painting in bare feet.  After Mr Chandlor died in 1953 his nephews moved into the house.  They were not inoculated with the gardening bug like their uncle and the gardens fell into disrepair.  Eventually they were purchased and passed onto the City of Weatherford.  The home on the property is beautifully kept with examples of his portraits of local dignitaries and even the Queen.  (The original hangs in the British Embassy in Washington DC.).  His studio is to an artist's dream with a huge north light window overlooking a small bronze statue and fountain, below.

We were all so impressed that we promptly joined the friends of the Gardens and are planning a return trip.  Thanks to the generosity of the City of Weatherford.

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