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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Happy Days in the Dorset country side.

St James
Pencil sketch & Watercolour

A lot of green's, not enough depth and I rushed it at the end because I was cold; roll on summer!
mmmm. .a bit lopsided, never mind I enjoyed doing it. 

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Friday, 26 April 2013

The Talisman

Sorry for the delay, but as they say 'Time waits for no man' and the days just keep flying by with so many things to do. I am in the middle of painting, and you can blame Michael for that, every time I view a new post he has put up, it makes me feel lazy with the few I have done, all I can say is his days must be longer than mine.
I will post my new effort at art these next couple of days, in the mean time:
The Following incident actually happened, and I will head it:
The Talisman
As age creeps along at a steady pace, more and more I am baffled at the wonders that happen in this universe to me. I was surprised and stunned a few weeks ago of one such incident that time you might say has healed. A long time ago I was in the playground of my youth, many miles from where I am now, back home in Ramsgate, there was a thought I had forgotten that afternoon, changing my life at the time and awakening feelings I didn’t understand.
It was a very hot summers day, this I do remember because the cold stone of the walls of the pier was pleasantly cooling to my bare legs, and a welcome breeze way out at the end by the lighthouse slightly chilled the skin on the back of my neck where it was wet with all the exertions of the day.
A young lady of about nineteen was walking along the pier that afternoon, dressed for the weather, her well formed body revelled in the breeze that slightly lifted the thin cotton dress away from her skin, gently caressing her and causing an air of peace and well-being in her appearance. She stopped in her stride and stood there in the midday sun looking at a scene of joy that was to stay with her all her life. Her eyes filled with moisture as she held her hand to her mouth to prevent any disturbance of what she was seeing. Her heart missed a beat as she studded the blond locks of hair covering the head of the young lad, never, she thought, had she felt or seen such blue eyes as he turned to look up at what the cause was of the shadow that she was creating. He stopped smiling and a serene look of nothing less that wonder crossed his face. Those eyes pierced her very soul, burning a memory into her subconscious, a tear released the tension in her young body and she had to turn away.
Before the thought of, or occurrence in, the attraction and the marvels that awaited the young boy of seven, sitting on the quay dangling his legs over the side, he was grubby and dishevelled, but laughing hilariously, causing an infection that spread across the water at the antics of the fishermen many feet below him.
A beautiful, unusual talisman or amulet hung about her neck, glinting in the sunlight, an heirloom she had inherited, passed down through generations that was of unknown origin, her hand, for some unknown reason to her, grasped it tightly as she turned back to face him, he was still staring, as if recognition lit up his young body she saw a man instead of the boy that was of her own age and he was studying the talisman she held so tightly. Although only a brief moment in time, she has quite often appeared in my dreams, at seven years old I had fallen deeply in love and I yearned for years after to see her again but never did.
There are few things I have learnt over the years that cannot be explained, and I am not one to believe in the afterlife or ghosts or fantasies so this is something that I have shelved to ask about when my judgement time comes.
I have lived my life since that day to the full and many will tell you I wouldn’t change a minute of it, perhaps wishing sometimes I could do it all again, not changing a minute. But this is not the end of this little bit of history.
A couple of months ago, walking down an unfamiliar high street, I saw someone having difficulty crossing a very busy road in a wheelchair and offered to help. The lady turned to me to thank me and her thanks froze in her mouth as she looked up into my eyes, hers immediately filled with tears as she searched my face and believe it or not we both knew and remembered that day so very long ago. Now in her eighties, me in my early seventies, remembering an afternoon sixty odd years ago that altered both our outlook on life. She opened her cardigan and around her neck still, was that very same Talisman glistening in the spring sunlight.    
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Wednesday, 17 April 2013


I have now been posting on this ‘Blog’ for three months and as the weeks have gone on and the articles and sketches I have posted seem to have been received with so many kind emails from you all I have decided to put a new page up that will give answers to the many questions that I have received.
The materials I use and where I get them from seem to be the main bulk of what you want to know.
How I go about this I have absolutely no idea, so may I ask you be patient with me in the development of this page, it will probably take up a lot of time, so there could be a few missing posts as I get to grips with it all.
I don’t know what happens sometimes with my layout, looking at other ‘Blogs’ mine is very fundamental and I am very envious of some of beautiful posts that I view. I have discovered if I put a button up, with a ‘click’ it takes you to another page so this is how I intend to start, lets hope it works.
In the mean time I will keep sketching and posting when I get time.
So keep stopping by, you never know, I might get lucky.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The End of My journey Home to Thanet.

Rounding the Foreland and holding the massive wheel to keep her steady, I stood legs apart swaying to leeward, the sight of home and all the familiar landmarks needed no reference to compass, every inch of canvas taunt and straining as if she knew our journey was coming to an end. The unusually gentle North Easterly was pushing us towards the harbour in the distance on calm seas. I could smell home, I could hear the thousands of joyful holidaymakers packing the beaches.
The gentle lapping waves in front of me as she cut deep into the water covered my emotion that rose up in my whole body; twenty years and then some had passed, there in the distance was where it had all begun, eager to leave home, eager to see the world I had ventured out from this place leaving behind all connections to satisfy the need of youth.
Passing under the white cliffs I knew my journey had come to an end, I was home and never again would we travel to distant shores, it was time to settle down.
As much as I can remember in my sketch of ‘Annabel 2’ I hope you like it.
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Sad Ending to a bit more of our History.

In Memorandum

 I noticed this tree last year when the leaves were on it, its still exposed to the elements at present so I have used a bit of artistic licence and given it some leaves.
I wondered why it was all on its own, a few miles from Bucklers Hard where Admiral Nelsons ships in times long ago were built, stripping the New Forest of all the trees to protect our shores, why had they left this one? Was it special or was there a little sympathy back then for this magnificent tree growing on the cliff tops, perhaps sheltering the men on a lunch break in the midday sun. I wonder if Henry Adams looked on its beautifully shaped branches and couldn’t bring himself to see them shattered with cannon at the battles out in the English Channel.
The roots finding support for its massive girth probably reaching depths as great as half its height, its stood looking over the water for centuries through storms and hot summers watching over the busy shipping lane, many a sailor I have been told using it as a land mark for home.
There are, I am told, tunnels running for miles under these cliffs that smugglers used back long ago. As I sat there drawing, the little grey cells were working overtime, as I imagined the custom men gathering under its branches ready to pounce upon the hapless smugglers from the hamlet of Beaulieu a few miles away.
Some may think it foolish, they would say ‘it’s just a tree for goodness sake’, but to me its something to cherish, to admire its beauty and the fact it has survived for so long without being damaged is a marvel in itself with all the destruction of our forests and parks in recent years. There are plans I know to widen this lane down to the beach, to construct a car park for the jet skiers using the bay, which will bring in revenue for the council coffers no doubt, and a little bit more of our lovely country, with all the unwritten history with it, will disappear.
Will anyone shed a tear as the chainsaws bite into its trunk, I doubt it, there certainly is no one around that remembers when a little sapling sprouted from an acorn five or six hundred years ago on this spot, to remember the young tree bursting into the sunlight as it shed the first fruits from its branches.
I know, I know, I am an old softy.
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Monday, 8 April 2013

'The Fishermen’s Rest' from a sketch one evening.

There wasn’t a lot of spare seats in ‘The Fishermen’s Rest’, everybody taking shelter from the howling wind outside that had snow flurries dancing against the windows.
A huge fire in the grate crackled and spat out hot cinders onto the carpet that had seen better days, but oh so welcome, nobody was complaining and the landlord was doing a roaring trade, everyone was content to just be inside.
Every time the door opened to let in another bedraggled traveller, all turned to see who else was crazy enough to venture out into the night. You would be forgiven for believing this was the heart of winter instead of April! The turmoil of the sea ten yards away was a caldron of froth as the tide started to turn. One time a wave was just collapsing onto the promenade with such fury, as the door opened the salt water followed him in only to be stopped by the stone step up into the tiny porch way of the tavern. All chatter stopped for a brief moment as everybody eyed up the newcomer, satisfied he wasn’t a threat, the hub-hub carried on as before as the door slammed shut.
An old fashioned pub, the low beams contorted through age were genuine and had supported the low ceiling above the clientele for generations, back to the time when soldiers gathered on the quay to fight Napoleon; you could buy a pie with your ale or perhaps a packet of crisps if you were hungry, but the majority were there to ‘savour a pint’ and have a chat with mates and pass a pleasant evening in company, reminding many of an age that didn’t want pop music drowning out their conversation. The place was heaving with folk that had travelled miles just to have a pint of the locally brewed ale.
Sitting across the table was a gent of considerable age that everyone seemed to know, an empty glass and the remains of a pie by his side. A character who just wanted to be amongst companions, all care of appearance long past, so long as he was warm and safe from a day on his boat out in the Solent that had started before sun-up that morning. A routine that had lasted each day, every day, since he was a boy. His tired old eyes closed for a moment, remembering the time perhaps when his catch filled ‘Sally Ann 1’ in days long past. The only interruption had been the war years, being torpedoed twice as a merchant seaman he’d crossed the Atlantic so many times in those terrible times losing so many friends; he’d lost count. 
His weathered face smiled, his white bleached whiskers accentuated his blue eyes as he nodded a thank you at me across the space between us; I placed another drink by his side and took out my pad and pencil and tried to capture what must have been at least ninety years of living. I thought what stories he could tell; if only I had brought my little tape recorder that I had now started to carry with me on my journeys. By this time his eyes had closed properly, he was sleeping the sleep of contentment giving me the opportunity to try to capture that moment, a time to savour, a time to cherish, hopefully, for years to come.
To say to my dear lifetime companion, perhaps a decade or so later, do you remember old Sam that night in ‘The Fishermen’s Rest’ down on the quay when it snowed in April? That huge fire in the grate that kept us warm as we reminisced on times past, such a memorable evening as the scent from your hair drifted up from your head resting on my shoulder as I tried to sketch him sitting there opposite us. Such simple pleasures we had found in this wonderful life we have had together.  

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Shadows that play a game with you.

I felt a bit out of sorts this last weekend, so I stayed home in the warm and decided to get the paints out. Copied a drawing in pencil first, which took me quite a long time. Instead of sketching an outline I found myself shading in the dark area's, this is not a good idea because the watercolour blends with the graphite.
Anyway, a good excersize, perhaps another try with the same subject-matter on another day.
I am always amazed at how dark a shade can be when the sun is high in the sky, really black on the back of the buildings away from the sunlight casting shadows across the sand, and every time you look up from your pad that shadow has moved another foot or so, annoying to say the least, like a child at play it will not stay still, as if it is trying to trick you into seeing something and then moving it.
All good fun.
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