F . J o h n & F i o n a O w e n
C H A L F O R D G L O S
The Old Chapel is set in the 'Golden Valley' of Chalford, for so long an inspiration to artists and writers, and where the Arts and Crafts Movement flourished. The Old Chapel, once a Wesleyan Methodist place of worship, has been the home and studio of F John & Fiona Owen for over thirty years, it is where they have brought up two children and made a garden from scratch on the south side of a steep cliff.
For three weeks each June the two painters put away their easels and brushes to exhibit their work in the large Chapel studio. It has become their 'Midsummer Celebration;' a visual journal of the year, their travels and daily walks with their dog, Winnie.
The splendid second edition of 'Weeds in the Heart' - 'A Five Valleys Herbal', written by Nathan Hughes and illuminated with Fiona's gilded paintings will be on sale.
The garden (open for charity) is spread over an acre of terraced cliff. There is the magnificent Moondial, a box-hedged herb garden, a pond-house and a small gothic tower, built by John twenty-five years ago.
John and Fiona's children Laurence and Meredith are both professional painters one lives in London, the other in Cornwall.
THE GARDEN IS ABOUT AN ACRE WITH LOTS OF STEPS
Gardens Illustrated: 'Folk memory and spiritual imagery often endow vantage points with an enigmatic eminence that is as intangible as inexplicable. How appropriate, that two talented artists Fiona and John Owen, whose paintings capture the rural scene, should choose to live in a converted chapel, perched high on a Gloucestershire hillside: and that they should also decide to create a magical and allegorical garden in such a spiritually charged setting'. Margaret Buntrock
Country Living: 'The glorious garden that has emerged from rubble is now a place of pilgrimage for horticulturalists and painters alike. You have to see their paintings to appreciate the skill and vision that make John's so strongly evocative of mood and light, Fiona's so perfectly observed, executed with all the richness and precision of illuminated manuscripts'. Miranda Innes
F. J O H N & F I O N A O W E N
TO SEE EXAMPLES OF PAST PAINTINGS
HOME TAB - TOP LEFT OF SITE
W A L L P A I N T I N G
In the studio, the east wall of the old Wesleyan Chapel has been painted to celebrate the opening of the Millennium exhibition. It was created over two years, and depicts friends and neighbours coming to celebrate the Midsummer fire festival of St. John, and the Summer Solstice. The figures descend to the Chapel, flanking each side of the garden, playing musical instruments and bearing colourful streamers bedecked in gold.
The wall painting was inspired by Benozzo Gozzoli's fresco cycle at the Medici Riccardi 'Chapel of the Magi' in Florence.
F I O N A O W E N
I L L U M I N A T I O N S
Fiona paints in oil on panel and gilds her work with 24ct. English gold leaf in the tradition of the Medieval manuscripts. Inspiration for her extraordinarily intricate, lyrical paintings is drawn from her native landscape - the flora and fauna and the changing seasons, and her Celtic inheritance.
She endeavours to capture the elusive Wild Magic that is the genius loci - the spirit unique to each place.
Her paintings are a celebration of, and a homage to, Nature. She works in the tradition of the Mystic Visionaries, from William Blake, Samuel Palmer, Richard Jeffries, through to Cedric Morris, Kathleen Raine and Robin Tanner, and believes this pattern in painting and writing to be a thread through time, existing metaphysically as a united body of consciousness.
The adjacent painting "As Above So Below" will be the cover of : 'Five Valleys Herbal" www.weedsintheheart.org.uk
XXX1st SUMMER EXHIBITION
The Old Chapel
10thJune - 1stJuly
10am - 5pm daily garden open £3.50 (charity)
slide show of some paintings below
2018 S U M M E R E X H I B I T I O N :
F I O N A O W E N
R E F L E C T I O N S F R O M
A D R E A M J O U R N A L
Fiona's Herbal, Alchemical and Bardic studies during the past year have informed and enriched the continuing process of 'Drawing out the Dreaming' , delving into the potency of ancient alchemical and magical symbolism in relation to the Plant Realm, with the intention of creating invocations of healing in her gilded illuminations.
F . J O H N O W E N
M I S T S A N D M O O N S
This year has been a year of mists and moons - 2018 started with the 'Super Blue Moon' or 'Full Wolf Moon' at the end of January. John was fortunate to see it at 3.45 am and painted a vision of it over Chalford's Golden Valley illuminating the river and mist. For many years John has painted his travels but this year many of the paintings are local, it's exciting when mist or fog changes something familiar by obscuring its edges, transmuting it into semi-abstraction, it can change the mundane into something extraordinary.
'WEEDS IN THE HEART'
The second edition of Fiona's new book
'A FIVE VALLEYS HERBAL',
written by Nathaniel Hughes,
a limited edition, signed hardback edition
is now available, and also a soft-cover edition
For more information about the book visit
THE BOOK CAN BE BOUGHT AT:
FIONA OWEN'S WORK CAN ALSO
BE SEEN ALL THROUGH THE YEAR
'THE LION HOUSE GALLERY'
12 HIGH ST, LAVENHAM , SUFFOLK , CO10 9PR
TEL; 01787 249616
Open 11 - 5 (closed Wed & Thurs)
T H E M O O N D I A L
This is a paper model of the Moondial.
Fiona has translated much of the symbolism
that she uses in her painting to create a Moondial
for the garden.
The actual Moondial shown below has been made in Copper and Brass by Master Sundial Maker, Harriet James. The photo below shows the Moondial on its plinth in the garden. Its intricate symbolism references Celtic myths and folklore.
F I O N A ' S P A I N T E D G L O B E
EXHIBITED AT THE
THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, LONDON
EXHIBITION OF GLOBES
Fiona completed her globe, she had been working on for fifteen months and
it is titled 'Terra Incognita'. This is a development from an exhibition in which she had explored alternative reality of Dream Time. The migrating spiral of flying creatures represents a vivid dream in which she saw all the birds of the air migrating in a southerly direction. The gilded lines that criss-cross the globe emanate from the fingertips of the bird-headed Shaman at the equator and represent the Anglo Saxon concept of the web of Wyrd which they believed connects every living thing.
Medici Society Gallery, London, UK ( from 1981 to 1991)
Sagert Gallery, Berlin, GER
Nailsworth Gallery, Berlin, GER
Nevill Gallery, Bath, UK
Lane Gallery, Key West, USA
Diva Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Diva Gallery, Long Island, NY, USA
Southshore Art Center, Boston, USA
John exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition for ten years from 1984.
SEE BOTTOM OF THIS WEBSITE FOR DETAILS OF FREDDIE OWEN - WRITER
How to get here
Marle Hill is in Chalford, on the A419 between Stroud and Cirencester..... (GL6 8PN for sat nav)
F R E D D I E O W E N
' W H A T H O ! G I O T T O '
The long summer visits to Italy, its landscape, people and culture (and vino!) have inspired F. John Owen to start writing under the pen-name Freddie Owen.
"There suddenly seemed to be the time and energy to try a different kind of creative activity and I have found writing very enjoyable and engaging; it's the culmination of years of ideas and thoughts and 'getting it all down' has proved very cathartic."
There are two books: 'What Ho! Giotto' is an autobiographical tale of a lifetime of painting and gardens, and the fufillment of a dream by creating a studio and garden in Italy. It has a sketch at the start of each chapter taken from drawing books that were made during his family's travels in Italy. The paperback version now has 20 B/W illustrations going back thirty years to his early paintings. ( above is one of the pencil illustrations)
The second book; 'THE WOODSTOCK TALES' was inspired by a friend at art school who went to Woodstock Festival in the back of a dark truck; throughout the night they told each other stories and swore to stay together through the weekend event... however when the doors opened, they fell into the 500,000 strong crowd and disappeared. They only knew each other by voice and none of them ever met again. This story is a retelling of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, but now with a bunch of hippies, a Vietnam veteran, a black Reverend, soft-porn merchant, a woman's libber etc. in a van on the way to the Woodstock festival, 1969.
' What Ho! Giotto' is available as a paperback from www.Lulu.com and both books available from Amazon as both paperbacks and Kindle ebooks.
GO TO LINK : http://freddieowen.weebly.com
All text and images copyright © John and Fiona Owen 2009