"Living and painting at the Clos du Peyronnet was an absolute dream. I was surrounded by plants from all over the world and all set around one of the most beautiful villas on the Côte d'Azur. Each part of the garden was like a room with glimpses out to the iridescent blue Mediterranean sea beyond."
Above: Artist Joanne Short painting the the garden of the Clos du Peyronnet in Menton, France
For Joanne's final year living and painting in Menton the family took up residence in Le Clos du Peyronnet. This is the last garden on the Côte d'Azur that was still being curated and maintained by the family that founded it.
The garden is set on a series of ascending paths with a central stone set of steps around which spectacular succulents grow. There is a large pond on the lower part of the garden that is fed from a series of smaller pools of water as they step down across the old olive terraces. Each pool is designed to reflect the sky and echo the colours of the sea beyond.
The front of the villa has a stunning wisteria plant, that in the words of Alan Titchmarsh who has filmed at Le Clos du Peyronnet, 'is literally holding the house up'. The colours and sheer beauty of the wisteria in flower has to be seen.
Above: Joanne Short painting as her two daughters Martha-Lilly and Wilamena Dyer play at Le Clos du Peyronnet garden in Menton, France
The garden is a private garden and it allowed Joanne and her family complete freedom to paint and play in the exotic paradise. Avocado trees were a firm favourite of the family and William Waterfield, the owner and curator of the garden, would leave generous piles of the fruits outside their door for lunch time treats.
Joanne and her family spent the entire academic year between 2009 to 2010 living and painting in the garden and immersed themselves in the life of the garden and the community of Menton with the family joining a traditional Mentonnaise fifre group and playing music at Le Conservatoire de Musique.
Above: Joanne Short with her youngest daughter Wilamena walking through the Old Town of Menton dressed in traditional Mentonnaise clothes ready to play fife music at a Menton festival.
In May 2010 an exhibition 'vernissage' of Joanne's paintings, and her husband's John Dyer, was held at Le Conservatoire de Musique in Menton so that their paintings of Menton and Le Clos du peyronnet could be seen by invited guests.
Above: Paul-Emmanuel Thomas, the director of Le Conservatoire de Musique in Menton, at the opening of the exhibition of Joanne Short and John Dyer's paintings in 2010