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By : Deborah Susan Jones : Editor
"When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion" (Old saying)
"Created as part of a major series of paintings about The Stiperstones Ridge in Shropshire, England, the exquisite blaze of colour afforded by the spiky Gorse bushes of the area were an unavoidably attractive and irresistible proposition for the artist, with their extreme thorniness. The mature plants have a long enough flowering season to enrich the area for lengthy periods and so demanded to be a major part of the project.
Flowering in late autumn and through the winter, and very decidedly into the spring being seemingly always in flower, and the flowers have a lovely coconut smell.
The meager, rocky, stark terrain of The Stiperstones provides ideal growing conditions for the hardy Gorse being often at home on very rocky soils which repels so many other species. The area, which is officially one of "outstanding natural beauty" benefits from Gorse in terms of preservation, an important feature in an area so well known in its history for mining and its role as a contemporary tourist attraction and not least of all a destination for committed walkers and hikers.
Each year (in common with Broom) we make home made wine from Gorse flowers which are also edible, and we use these in salads harvest them to for tea to drink in the studio.
Farmer friends of ours also use Gorse as cattle fodder as it is high in protein and used as feed for their livestock, which has been particularly useful in several bad winters experienced locally. The wild Ponies of the Longmynd hill in the area also are known to eat it.
Historically, in olden times, Gorse was used as dye for fabrics and in hearth fires and in cooking for heating ovens and furnaces for everything from general cooking to bread making and even to hang the laundry on!
Along with the other paintings in the series this wonderful painting is a blaze of glorious "sharp Yellow" more than enough to provide a magnificent central feature to any room in your house.
And it certainly was worth the trek over the top of the stark mountain that is the Stiperstones ridge from the relative tranquility of the Church Stretton valley that is home to our studio."
Deborah Susan Jones : Editor