Apologies in advance for this nostalgic and slightly self-indulgent post. I hope you’ll allow me to explain?
Blasts from the past
Follow the passing of my mum back in April I’ve been gradually working on the arrangements for mum’s estate. Her bungalow will shortly be put on the market and, last weekend, I spent some time there to collect items that family members would like to keep, removing any photos and personal items on display and doing some tidying up in the garden.
It was a strange few days. Lots of reminiscences and lots of tears too. In my tidying, I came across some of my sketchbooks and art projects from when I was at school and from my Foundation Year.
It’s amazing to think that some of these were from about 40 years ago. That’s a whole heap of dust to gather! To somehow make this accidental hoarding seem worthwhile, I thought I’d post a brief selection of my formative works here. This is mainly so that I could legitimately dispose of them as I don’t have the luxury of space to hold onto them.
I’ve shown them in as best chronological order as I can remember but they start from around 1979/1980.
Most of these pieces were all quite large and have all now gone to the gallery in the sky. A box of A4 sketchbooks traveled back with me to Brighton but I’m sure they’ll be heading in a similar direction soon. It’s amazing how going through them totally transported me back to my school days.
There were also a few moments when I wondered what had happened during the intervening 40 years? I couldn’t help but wonder what might have become of me had I really stuck with my art instead of abandoning it for most of that time.
Back to the present
With everything that I had going on, I didn’t really have the time nor the inclination to paint. I’d already scrolled through my reference photos, all of which had left me completely cold and I really didn’t feel like painting at all.
Tidying up my old bedroom I came across an enormous pile of old copies of The Artist magazine. These had been given to me as a present from one of my brothers. I’ve sometimes leafed through them on previous visits and have often found items of interest contained in their pages – such as when I found an original advert for my beloved Frazer Price Palette Box.
On this occasion, as I was rather aimlessly leafing through them, the cover of the issue from June 1966 caught my eye, mainly because I thought is was such a brilliant photo:
I was born in 1966 (I’ll let you do the maths!) so already there seemed this seemed to be more than pure co-incidence. In this edition, there was a feature on landscape painting by the great Edward Wesson.
Here’s the article as it appeared.
The article ended with a description of how he painted the final colour plate:
Suddenly, I had some very low level stirrings of a desire to paint. I know it’s not original, but sometimes you have to take your inspiration and motivation from wherever you find it. My plan, such as had one, was to paint this scene but not necessarily to copy the Wesson style. The difficulty I found however was that it was hard to stop myself! Here then is my decidedly – although not purposefully – Wesson-esque effort:
This seemed like a fitting way to also say farewell to this pile of magazines. Also, I’d already decided to keep hold of my old copies of the groundbreaking culture and style magazine The Face from the early 80s and really didn’t have space for anything else!
As much as it felt important to experience all of this, and to acknowledge that this is all part of my grieving, I’m not one naturally inclined to nostalgia. Hopefully I’ll be right back in the here and now by this time next next week!