Amazon Garden

Amazon Garden by Kirsten Jones

This piece is a commissioned work as a 40th birthday present for Nick, by his lovely wife Lisa. There are 40 objects or collaged items to mark every year of his life and every symbol and stamp is relevant to Nick in some way.

 Work in progress..

Work in progress..

The idea for the painting began with a precious object.. an oar which Nick used to canoe the Amazon. This led to the idea of creating a hanging garden, based on the jungle which nick sailed by on his epic trip. The list below tells the story of the piece.


1       Oar.. Nick sailed the Amazon with a friend and bought a beautiful hand made wooden oar which he now has at home. The text nearby is the dictionary definition of the word ‘oar’ and the shape can be seen within the leaves of the foliage.

2       Canoe.. the shape of nick’s canoe seen from above, also the dictionary definition

3       There are three Victoria Crosses in Nicks family. These three stamps represent each one and the huge sacrifice and achievement involved in gaining such a medal.

4       Amazon Lily.. just one of the beautiful plants seen on route. These are represented as flower shapes torn from a Tintin book.. some of the flowers have further meaning, explained later.

5       Doctor.. Nick is now a doctor and there are several vintage labels for potions, lotions, pills and creams throughout the painting. These are quite old and many profess to cure a huge range of ailments.. or at least make you forget how ill you are feeling if you consider how many list a significant amount of alcohol as one of the ingredients..!        

6       dragons blood plant.. this is a plant found in the Amazon with many genuine medicinal qualities..

7       Seven Pillars of Wisdom.. (T.E. Lawrence) this is Nicks favourite book.. he has a first edition copy and there are seven flowers in the painting to echo the title. The Tintin text is also taken from the story ‘The Seven Crystals’ .. perhaps a nod to Mr. Lawrence? The centre of the flowers is torn from a (flood damaged) later copy of the book… bought from a charity shop.

8       Caracas building.. this building is based on a photograph which Nick took on a holiday when he was 19. He photographed quite a few tall thin buildings, trees etc.. and there are several examples within the work!

9       Palm Tree.. another great photo.. of a hugely tall tree taken by the side of the river

10      Air Mail.. Nick sent letters and postcards from his many trips.. this is the corner of such an envelope and represents his extensive travels.

11      Nicks grandfathers Rolex****** names, dates?        The time is set to **** which is the time of day Nick was born

12      Working Cocker Spaniel.. Rufus is the family dog

13      Rucksack.. the dictionary definition of Nick’s essential kit whilst travelling

14      Lisa and Nick.. symbolized by two arches within the acrchitectural detail of the building

15      Sophie and Toby.. two smaller arches just above represent Nick and Lisa’s two children.

16      All Saints Church, where nick and Lisa got married, shown as a tall spire with a cross at the top.

17      Envelope.. This was a letter Nick wrote to his grandparents ***names from Brazil. Both sides of the envelope are within the piece.

18      Nick (gorgeously) gives Lisa random presents of hearts, and this is a necklace Nick gave Lisa on her birthday..

19      Kenyan stamp.. Nick climbed Kilimanjaro There are other stamps throughout the painting which represent the places nick has been on holiday.. including France, Greece, Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia.. does this boy ever work..(??!!)

20      Animal card 1 Lion.. Nick has seen lots of animals on his travels and documents them with photos.

21      Animal card 2 Camel.. Nick smoked Camel cigarettes when travelling.. naughty boy!

22      Animal card 3 Turtle.. Nick and Lisa saw turtles on their holiday in*********

23      Stamp from Malaysia and Sabah where Nick and lisa Honeymooned

24      Railings.. This design is taken from the railings of a hotel where Nick and Lisa stayed in Cuba

25      Cornish Flag.. a favourite family place..  The cross is seen within the architecture of the building..

26      tower.. This was a fabulously precarious and tall oil pump in one of nicks photos

27      bottles.. being carried by the butler in a Tintin story.. Nick loves wine, particularly Bordeaux.. the many bottles in the comic strip represent his continuous research into wine!

28      Hat.. (also within a Tintin text..) Nick wore a similar hat throughout his travels in South America. In this part of the story snowy has persuaded Tintin to pull a hat out of the water as part of the clue to the mystery!

29      South America Away! Music score. Nick adores South America.. fond memories of all aspects, the sights, culture, sounds.. It’s a bit of a running joke in the family.. don’t get him started on the subject.. so this musical title seemed appropriate from both perspectives!

30      Silver Sands Beach hut.. One of Nicks photos showed a makeshift hut where he stayed.. with just a simple roof and two chairs.. this simple drawing represents that image

31      Bath.. where Nick and Lisa live now.. this is an old postcard.

32      climbing rope and Karibina.. nick enjoys climbing…

33      Porsche 911.. nicks favourite car.. this is a collectors card and shows the racing version as his grandad raced porsches.

34      Bracelet.. this was a gift from Nick to Lisa on their ***th anniversary

35      tassels.. Nick wore a scarf with small tassels on during his travels.. the scarf is probably long gone.. but the tassels are a memory at least.

36      The lightfoot clock, taken from a postcard…Nick went to school at Wells Cathedral School

37      Crest.. emblem/letter head from an orginal Wells Cathedral School party list. It is a boars/hogs head which is taken from the ‘faughaballagh’

38      Red Herring.. there’s always one hidden in my portrait paintings.. and this is the one for nick’s piece!

39      Orchids.. dotted around.. Nick collected lots of images of orchids and exotic flowers in South America and beyond..

40      Father Christmas’s beard.. the name for this type of hanging plant which was seen on a visit to ..***