First off, I would like to thank everyone that sent such kind, warm and supportive messages following the death of my mum on the 16th April 2020. I really appreciate everyone of them and found the support so incredibly helpful at such a difficult time.

The funeral was last Friday, the 24th April. Six people were in attendance – including two of three sons and one of three grandchildren – and we made it as special and personal as we were able within the half hour we were allotted!

I can recall when I was young and I started to explore my older brothers’ record collections that were left behind after they’d both left home. One album I remember in particular – more for its title than most of the songs on it – was a compilation of artists on the old Island records label, titled Strangely strange but oddly normal. This title has been much in my mind of late as it seems to describe perfectly how I feel at the moment, which is indeed strangely strange but oddly normal.

I’ve been trying to keep on painting and, this post represents a bit of a departure for me. I first saw the reference photo for this week’s painting on Twitter. It was a mono photograph and somehow it just seemed to call out to me be painted. So I did:

Roborough Hill, Barnstaple, North Devon

I was pleasantly surprised at how this turned out considering it was done pretty quickly and is a colour interpretation of a black and white image. Only after painting it did I start to look at where the image was and who ‘owned’ it.

I’ve since been pleased to make the acquaintance of Al Brown, an artist and photographer. I contacted Al to seek his permission to share my painting based on his photograph and he has been very gracious in allowing me to share this.

What I hope you might find particularly interesting is to visit Al’s sites on WordPress, Instagram and Twitter where you can see a number of paintings of the same or similar views that Al has painted. I always enjoy seeing how different people interpret similar views and this is no exception.

Thanks again to everyone for their support during what has been a particularly trying and emotional time – it really has meant such a lot to me and I feel immensely fortunate and grateful.

18 thoughts on “Strangely strange but oddly normal

  1. Nice fresh looking work, John. It’s odd that you should glean so much colour information from a black and white original. Mind you, Al Brown’s acrylics are startlingly bright and colourful so I wouldn’t stare at them if I were you! By the way, I notice you have liked a Sky Portrait on Instagram AND IT’S NOT MINE. Just an oversight, I’m sure…. Did you have a go yourself?

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    1. Hi Rob and thanks for this. It was strange that I only saw Al’s paintings after I’d painted my one and yes, they’re pretty vivid! I’m so sorry to have missed your portrait on Instagram – I’m going to go a look you up after this. I didn’t go for this – I can’t deny that portraits terrify me!

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  2. Am impressed with the COLOR! I’m with you, Carol…except for the acrylics. I like having the steep incline on the left instead of the usual flat view s common. The ideas might just be worth a try! Congratulations too, for coming up with a painting this week but I know you’ll find it will help you recover from your so-so-sad loss. Keep the brushes moving! This is lovely!

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  3. Only just read about your mother John so belated condolences. Funerals are doubly stressful at the moment because of the restrictions, so an extra strain for you
    My father died on New Years Eve and his funeral was 4th February so we beat the lockdown although we didn’t know it at the time. Can’t imagine how harrowing it must be now

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    1. Hi David and thanks so much for this. I do recall you mentioning your father passing and yes, it is a stressful time. In some ways, the current restrictions simplified things a little as there were only six of us present – I suppose it just didn’t seem quite as fitting a send off for almost 95 years full of life! It’s possible we’ll organise something else for later – but at the moment it’s hard to know when ‘later’ might be! Many thanks for getting in touch David, I really appreciate it.

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  4. Morning John. I absolutely love this and feel that colour does really suit you! This is an absolute winner and I hope you can do more like this. I feel for you at this time as it must be difficult to not have the normal distractions of daily life to help you heal. Hopefully though you will find the quiet a haven for you.
    I also loved Al Brown’s acrylics. I’ve just started with my acrylics again as I love to chop and change a bit.
    Well take good care and keep painting John.
    Carole xx

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    1. Hi Carole and thanks so much for this and am delighted that you like this one! I myself only saw Al’s acrylics after I’d painted this watercolour and like you I was. Really impressed with them. Unlike you, I tend to stick just with watercolours – I seem to struggle enough with one medium and the thought of dabbling with more slightly overwhelms me! We had intended to return home a day or two after the funeral but, almost a week later, we still find ourselves staying in mums bungalow. It feels like a safe haven at the moment – as if we’re still in mum’s warm embrace! All best wishes Carole

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    1. Hi David and thanks so much for this, so pleased you like this one and really appreciate you taking the time to comment. That left bank was a bit hit and miss to be honest. It started off all ‘tight’ until I got frustrated with it and the I just started to go a little crazy with it, splattering on paint and then water and letting it run, then adding on the bright pops of colour just before it completely dried out. It was as much by accident as design that it worked out (as is so often the way!) – Thanks again David

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