I was very honoured to be asked by the Editor of Hythe & Romney life magazine to write a few articles. Of course the very first was all about my life in Hythe. You might like to read it. Published in January 2012.
I discovered Hythe when I moved from France in December 1970 and straight away realised that I had landed in one of the most beautiful spots on the South Coast of England. The seasons went by and brought an incredible charm to the place.
The trees along the canal broke into blossoms in the Spring with an explosion of tender colours.
During the Summer, I went boating and walking in every possible corners of the place: the canal, the hills and of course my very favourite spot, the seafront.
Autumn arrived with an abundance of glorious colours under the shimmering light unique to the South East. This light is distinctly different from that experienced on the West coast of England.
Back in France, I had learnt the craft of painting from my father, also an artist and I could not wait to put my new found, treasured town to canvas. Although I produced several sketches, it was when my three children started school that I could finally fulfill my dream.
My very first canvas was the Fishermen's beach. Having had many trips walking around this area to study the atmosphere. I loved it so much - the Martello towers, the lovely fishing boats, the seagulls...
I seemed to be drawn to it like a magnet and created quite a few paintings of the place.
My inspiration turned towards the canal with boating scenes, the war memorial, the bridges, the bowling and cricket clubs, Oakland grounds with the bandstand and Ladies' Walk, so many delightful parts of Hythe.
From South Road, I could capture the magnificent St Leonard's, standing strikingly on the top of the hill. Without this imposing, beautiful church whose origin dates from 1090, most paintings would lose a major focal point. Walking along the seafront by the golf course, I discovered a spectacular view which was the inspiration for my painting "Glorious Hythe"
Hythe has many quaint streets and buildings. I am always surprised when people tell me that they have lived here for many years but have never explored the hills. My great favourite is Church Hill, only a step away from the High street. My heart warms up at the sight of this gorgeous hill with its beautiful old cottages and hollyhocks growing wildly along the old walls. No traffic is allowed here: An artist's paradise!
My paintings of Church Hill hang in America, Australia parts of England and of course Hythe! I cannot stop painting it.
Heading in the direction of the church brings you to Hillside street, where more hollyhocks grow along the historic walls. Nestled by the church are more pretty cottages waiting to be painted and of course Upper Church Hill which leads to North road.
Marine Walk street, Mount Street, Theatre street and the High street are all so enchanting!
The Bell pub is another attractive corner with the old mill standing behind it. So much to be inspired by! Even the little ice cream van standing by the canal on a hot summer's day.
I have recently moved further up the hill and I am blessed to have some sea views from my studio. From October through to the winter the sunsets are spectacular, once more providing me with food for more creations in oil, acrylic and watercolour.
I have painted many other places, still lives and portraits but Hythe is my special little treasure, the place that started it all for me. My only wish is that nobody will ever destroy our heritage and that we can preserve it for our children to enjoy.
During my walks, while making reference sketches, I meet people who either live in Hythe or are visitors. I have had the odd remark :"You are making the place prettier than it is!"
My response is :"No, I capture the corners of Hythe with what I see and feel. There are special moments when the sun touches the scenery and transforms it like magic. People look but do not see".
Others have told me that I am so lucky to live in Hythe, it is like a little haven.
How right they are, it is my Hythe Haven!
Historical information: "Hythe" is derived from an old English word meaning haven.