Beyond the garden

©Barbara Sampson©Barbara Sampson

This month, Barbara Sampson will be displaying her garden-inspired paintings at Wanstead House as part of Essex Art Club's annual exhibition.

For as long as I can remember I have sketched and painted. My work springs from my natural surroundings, walking through my garden and beyond into forest and imagination. The combination of the beautiful replication, colour, shape and form of nature has provided a constant thread of inspiration.

During the last two summers, weather permitting, I have been pleased to join a group of members from Essex Art Club on their plein air painting excursions to the countryside, finding inspiration for new work in different gardens.

I have always lived and worked locally, apart from a short spell in the country in the 1970s. I lived with my family in Wanstead for many years and now we live close to Epping Forest in Chingford. I lived in Leytonstone as a child and went to a technical school in Walthamstow. I went on to study at Walthamstow School of Art in the late 1960s, where I found a sense of purpose and learnt a working practice that still resides in me.

My varied career path began through the world of illustration for children. When I entered a toy competition while in my final year at art school, my design entries were noticed by Galt Toys. This chance connection was the key that opened up an adventure into games and puzzles. Two of my designs, The Royal Game of Goose and a Ludo board, are held in the V&A archive collection. Commissions for textiles and wallpaper design, children's book illustration and greetings cards followed, inspired by floral and decorative themes.

I have exhibited in London galleries, including The Mall Galleries, Bankside Gallery, The Garden Museum and for The Society of Botanical Artists at Central Hall, Westminster. I regularly exhibit paintings locally and have worked as artist in residence in schools in Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

October will be a busy month for me this year as I also have a solo exhibition at The View Gallery in Chingford. The Garden and Beyond will weave together images of past and present work and runs throughout the month.

The Essex Art Club Wanstead House exhibition will take place on 28 and 29 October from 10am to 5pm (free entry). For more information, visit

Barbara's exhibition at The View Gallery in Chingford runs from 1 to 29 October. For more information, visit

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