Winner of Sir Arthur Clarke Award for 'Best Written
Susan Stepney and Charles Whyte commissioned a painting to accompany an
amazing science-fictional garden design.
However, before I could do the painting
I had to see their home and garden in Ely, near Cambridge, England, and
design the spaceship and various other elements, all of of which needed
to be carefully co-ordinated.
The 'TIME GARDEN' theme incorporates a 'time
portal' (garden arch) separating 'present' (pristine paths and young trees)
and 'future' (weathered paths and mature trees). A digital sketch was made
of the time portal, through which is seen the actual garden, with added
eclipse, based on an illustration for Galactic Tours, (with Bob Shaw,1981)
The 'SPACE GARDEN' theme incorporates a 'crashed spaceship',
which has subsequently been set upright in its 'crash crater' (garden
pond) for repair, but is still damaged, with a 'coolant leak' (waterfall).
First, while at the Stepney home, a ballpoint sketch was done. The brief
was for the spaceship, to be "alien, organic looking, curvilinear,
not angular and mechanical."
Planting around this pond is 'exotic and spiky', to suggest
alienness. The sketch above was converted into the digital image at right,
with the spaceship against a leylandii hedge. Internal and underwater
lighting are planned
The painting itself depicts an earlier point in the ship's life,
after the crash, but before the righting. It incorporates other themes
of the garden in the background: the standing stones ('cargo cult' repetitions
of the 'time portal'), and the total solar eclipse, which is shown as
a composite, 'time delay' sequence. (3 x 2ft [approx. 100cm x 66cm], acrylics
on stretched canvas). The painting was completed just in time to be displayed
at Paragon, the UK's 2001 Easter SF convention
The final digital design is for the Diamond Ring
eclipse motif on rock. This appears throughout the garden, set into paths
During 2001 progress was good, and the following
stages were accomplished: