Local artist Debbie Baxter is a regular visitor to Wandlebury, which provides inspiration for her work in all seasons. Her work, recently featured in BBC's Countryfile programme. We asked Debbie to tell us a bit about her relationship with Wandlebury and how she is inspired by it.

What draws you to paint at Wandlebury?

It is an oasis in the midst of arable fields. I feel much more happy and grounded when I am near woodlands and trees. It’s also a space I can get to and wander through very freely and easily. I can witness all the changing seasons in a space that is both wild and so beautifully maintained.  It’s like a best kept secret garden.

Did you like the BBC Countryfile visit to Wandlebury featuring your work?

They did a pretty excellent job at covering my work and what I do. But if there is anything I would’ve wanted more of, it would be to put more emphasis on the power and meaning of trees in our environment. Trees are a keystone species and they provide so much more than a painting. They protect our environment, provide food and shelter to countless organisms and wildlife. I wanted to bring Countryfile to Wandlebury because there is a strong sense that nature is being totally respected and cared for here and this is a very precious gift to give to both ourselves and our next generation. This makes Wandlebury a place of absolute importance in my eyes and should forever be preserved and sustained.

What makes each of the seasons special in this setting?

In spring I will be out looking for Wandlebury’s special crop of Aconites and Snowdrops. Summer time the rich greens of sun pouring through the upper tree canopy foliage. Autumn is an absolute joy of oranges and yellows and in winter I get to really study the beautiful shapes the bare trees make in the sky. The interesting thing is that each season through the years is never the same. Autumn 2017 saw a rich flame-coloured foliage with cobalt blue skies that had me totally excited. This autumn, 2018, the foliage was far more golden and faster-changing with deep ochre’s and bright yellows.

 Do you have a secret place here?

Now, if I told you that it wouldn’t be secret anymore! Suffice to say, the beauty about Wandlebury is that there are ‘many ‘ and there is a delicious freedom in finding a spot that one can go to and trust will always be there. Not many public places offer such a liberating natural experience. I also have to say that those secret places change along with the seasons and this very much determines which route I choose to walk when I enter the park.

We're delighted that Debbie is running some events in the Park this summer, These will include creative adventures into the flora around Wandlebury with 'plein air' and studio instruction with Debbie.

Having the opportunity to paint direct from nature is in many ways the absolute best way to learn painting or to improve your painting

Debbie Baxter

Click here to see more of the events Debbie will be running.