This scene is near the Coombe Wood tearooms, where giant lily pads with huge dark carp and orangey goldfish lurking beneath them, float upon the ornamental pond. Water cascades gently down into the pool through the large boulders fronting a gurgling stream that meanders down through rock gardens.
There are beautifully bright flower gardens and emerald lawns surrounding this and a pathway leads past a quaint gatekeeper’s cottage and through an archway into the cobbled courtyard of what used to be the stables, with snuffling horses fed on hay, crunchy carrots, apples and sugarlumps, some being prepared for a Ranger Trail along the Bridle Path up to Croham or in the opposite direction across to Lloyd Park or along the Shirley Oaks Road. Then, nestling in the comforting atmosphere of the tearooms at Coombe Wood, which used to be run by a friendly Chinese family, were authentic lanterns set upon shelves and casings and hanging from the ceiling, with delicate eastern paintings adorning the walls and gentle oriental music playing wistfully. Unless the younger generation of the family happened to be visiting that day, when the radio would sometimes be set to the current chart music stations.
I used to love the little handwritten notice displayed on one of the walls: Restaurant open till park close. We serve wine by glass and by bottle and beer. Winter business usual.
Further back there are yet more gardens with trees and ornamental shrubs winding up via pathways to the crest of a hill, which affords excellent views of Croydon and it’s environs.
Down at the foot of the ascent, I sat in the shade by this huge, spreading beech, its branches reaching out like a great umbrella dappling the light, and I set about penciling in the scene confronting me before inking over the pencil work and colouring it with watercolours and fibre-tips afterwards.
Then, with these types of scenes, where bright light or sunlight contrasts with deep shade, I tend to often increase the depth of shady areas exponentially, adding highlights applied in graduated layers with luminous felt tip markers and translucent water colour glazes as contrasts.
Coombe Wood is located at the junction of Coombe Lane and Conduit Lane. The Tram service stops at Lloyd Park and Coombe Lane on Route 3 to Addington.
Dave Draper 2014