DRAWN TO THE GARDEN
A TALENTED ILLUSTRATOR BASED IN THE NSW SOUTHERN TABLELANDS PAPER BRINGS BRINGS GARDENS TO LIFE ON PAPER.
Illustrator Jeremy Goodman, based in Crookwell, NSW, brings people’s gardens to life in watercolour.
FOR SOMEONE WHO is so passionate about gardens, Jeremy Goodman is happy to confess that his own green thumb extends to being pretty handy at mowing. His real expertise lies in capturing other people’s gardens in his exquisite watercolour illustrations. Since 2010 — when Jeremy chanced across a book of famous landscape designer Edna Walling’s garden plans and was inspired to resurrect old skills with pencil and paintbrush — he has been creating his own garden maps for clients. Garden Portraits is both the name and nature of his business. And Jeremy’s framed paintings are indeed artworks in their own right. “I love gardens but I’m not really a gardener myself — my wife Ann is the very keen gardener... I ride the ride-on mower very well,” he quips. “I’m very fortunate to be spending all this time wandering around other people’s gardens.” Ann and Jeremy live on 16 hectares at Crookwell in the NSW Southern Tablelands, which they bought as a weekend escape from Sydney 30 years ago. A property with wonderful old snow gums that frame the views out across the valley. The couple made Clydesdale (so named because “the plan was to have Clydesdale horses running around everywhere”) their permanent home back in 2003. “We decided it was time to do the ‘green change’, so we turned what had been a little shed into a proper house, got two labrador puppies and started living the dream,” says Jeremy, who was a graphic designer, then a partner in an advertising agency, before the move. For a while Jeremy worked locally in the signage industry until he started looking for something else to do. “Then woriicameacrossabookinthelibraryofednawalling’swork [ The Vision of Edna Walling: Garden Plans 1920–1951 by Trisha Dixon and Jennie Churchill]. I saw her watercolours, and was amazed by how beautiful they were... I just loved the look of the watercolours and I started wondering — would any of the people who own fabulous gardens today be interested in having a watercolour illustration done of their garden?” It just so happened that Jeremy had been trained in illustration and painting, albeit a long time ago, making those skills a triflfle rusty. “When I started in advertising 40 years ago I did commercial art and graphic design and we were taught all those basic drawing skills because there were no computers — how to use a pencil, do lettering, how to draw a straight line without a ruler.” And there was no denying that garden art was already in his blood. A work done by his late mother, Elizabeth, provided more timely inspiration. A botanical artist, she painted Ann and Jeremy’s landscaped garden as a Christmas present for him. “A lot of our visitors made nice comments about this painting hanging on our wall and in 2010, when I was thinking of what to do, another bell went offff in my head!” Jeremy’s fifirst foray into garden illustration was on his own garden — designed as a trio of circles to pick up on the curves in the borrowed landscape and planted with hardy >
species including native grasses, clipped westringia and callistemon. Later he approached friends. “I rang them up and said ‘Can I borrow your garden, and you can have the picture, if I can have a print?’” Then with this small portfolio he headed offff to a couple of garden shows to see if anyone was interested. “The answer was yes; people were very interested.” Since then he’s painted gardens large and small — from a balcony garden in a retirement village, to a grand estate garden in Tasmania as well as vineyards. Jeremy starts a commission with a visit to the garden armed with his trusty board, graph paper and pencil, pacing out the boundaries, the placement of trees, house and structures with his handy one-metre stride. He takes notes and “hundreds of photographs”. Often owners will want important details added such as pets — and in one case, an old truck tyre swing. “I was told ‘You must put in the truck tyre hanging in the tree because three generations of this family have swung on that tyre’ — and I’ve somehow had to leave a hole in the tree canopy as you wouldn’t normally see the swing from above. I’ve done everything; cows, dogs, horses — and chooks...” He’s the fifirst to admit that a chook looks really “weird” from above, and a sheep, well, just plain “ridiculous — like a grain of rice” but for him as well as garden owners, it’s these added details that make the paintings more meaningful. Over the years his paintings have developed and his business grown to the point where he’s visiting gardens all around the country and is rarely without work in progress. Even so, he still has a garden wish list. “I haven’t done a desert garden.” Any down time is usually spent in his own garden. “I mow lawns for recreation — and when you’ve got an acre of green stuffff, that’s an awful lot of mowing.” For information, telephone (02) 4848 1295 or visit jeremysgardenportraits.com
Illustrator Jeremy Goodman paints garden portraits in watercolour. FACING PAGE Jeremy and his wife, Ann, in their garden with their 13-year-old labradors, Marky and Chess (short for Duchess).
Ajeremy’aprintinannandjeremy’sLone Mustang sitttting room. The ceramic sculpture is by local sculptor Barbara Barlow, while the wooden horse is from an antique store.