After a topsy-turvy week , I ended with a Life Painting lesson not the best I have ever had. I was not entirely comfortable standing a round for a couple of hours or more gawping at a naked bloke; contemplating the shadows around his eyes, the tone of skin warm or cold? Does this mean I have failed as an artist? That’s a shame ; at the first hurdle.
… is the day when I offer heart felt thanks to those who have been of service or not within and without the cyber-world of Nela Bligh. The world of Postaday where she holds forth in an unseemly fashion dragging information from that quarter and spurting in this. So thanks to you all and those who comment extra thanks xxx
And thanks to Peter Hay.
Sometime, soon after I started to work in the Library at the University of Reading, I came across a little collection of books published by a local company called Two Rivers Press. It was founded by the late Peter Hay, an artist and illustrator.
His work and one in particular called Apples, Berkshire and Cider inspired me; not only is it a beautifully illustrated and annotated alphabet book , the images are hand printed. A couple of years ago I began printing myself and without the skills and know-how of Peter, I began having art lessons. So a wondrous journey began. that has taken me further than I could never have imagined.
These images from the above mentioned book that I enjoy ; now sadly out of print.
Today in way of a celebration I will go to a sale of Peter’s work and buy a picture that I can look at without fear of breaking copyright rules.
As I begin another round of Alphabe Thursday ; I will set the scene a bit. I have always enjoyed walking or rather it has never been inconvenient. As a child there was no alternative; we lived on a house boat, without a car and indeed a long way from a metal road and therefore any form of public transport. So I walked to the shops, school and for 2 or 3 miles to the nearest bus stop if I needed to go to town. I did have a bike; for my paper round and have had one since and cycle daily for expedience, to and from work.
I did pass my driving test when I moved away from the the river and did have a car for longer journeys but gave that up when I moved in with my partner and the running two cars became financially crazy.
So if I have time and somewhere to go I walk, but, I prefer to go from A to B, the later being desirable with a cake and tea, a pretty picture, even a nice view or a new frock and definitely not a walk back again.
For instance, last week I told you about a pleasant walk from Paddington Station to Little Venice and a boat trip to Camden (OK, the barge cruised at a leisurely walking pace so not to create a disturbing wash) then a walk around the market and lunch and later stroll to the Underground and a trip home.
I don’t walk for the sake of walking, in a circle or there and back to get hot and sweaty or cold, wet and muddy no matter how beautiful the scenery.
Alone or in company walking for me is practical but also a time to contemplate.
I have read much about the art and history of walking and the myriad of reasons for doing it. It is complex and it seems I am not alone in my quest to walk in joy, to and fro, without the use of a car or public transport and then not enjoy rambling.
So I will discover who and what these walkers are doing of the next 26 weeks in an alphabet.
With the aid of artists who also its seems enjoy to walk and record its delights.
I buy some of my printing tools from Lawrence Art supplies and have some very old wood gravers that bear the name T.N. Lawrence. You can imagine my surprise when I see that it was Stanley Lawrence of T.N. Lawrence and Son in the Bleeding Heart Yard, off Greville Street, London who supplied traditional British blocks to some of the most famous wood engravers; names like Joan Hassall. It would seem although he was extremely shy; Stanley’s enthusiasm for the knowledge of wood-engraving and wood-engravers was paramount and without any ulterior motive. He became a well loved, fount of wisdom to every wood-engraver he served. His gentle charm although innocent and avuncular was attractive to women; this ‘kindheartedness’ didn’t go unnoticed, his grandson Simon wrote in Matrix (7) ‘He fostered many engravers both young and old but especially young and female’. Patricia Jaffe goes of to tell of his commitment to product quality and customer care.
The image of Stanley Lawrence at Bleeding Heart Yard is by Anne Jope (1977), one of those engravers ‘young and female’ whom Stanley Lawrence delighted in encouraging. ‘Anne Jope has ‘woven a medley of evocative images, her tribute both to boxwood and to the block-maker’.
The other engravings are by Joan Hassall who was a one of Stanley Lawrence’s most priced and admired customers and she was to become the best loved British engraver of her generation.
On old years night 2013, my daughter and her partner who were visiting us from Brazil joined us on the edge of Thames to release some sky lanterns. As a family it has become a little tradition when we give thanks for the last year and make wishes for the new year. A silent ritual which is usually followed by a few glasses wine and a new year celebration with Jules Holland (on TV) No more is said about our personal ‘gratitudes’ and wishes. I am always careful how I word the wishes as they can have bitter/sweet responses but I am sure I would have asked for long life and good health for all beings etc.
My visitors returned to Brazil a week or so later, but not before we had buried my mother who died early in the New Year. The a week later my daughter and her partner, while on their motorbike were hit by a car coming from a side street, each suffering a broken leg.
None of this could have been prevented no matter how much we wished that night. Nonetheless as I grieved for the loss of my mother and the ‘awayness’ of my beloved daughter alone and in pain in a foreign country, I did feel that the Wish Master had been a little unfair!
So time passed, my heart and the respective legs have almost healed, life looks OK again; it is hard to ‘mark’ the achievement we have all made this last 9 months in one image. This graffiti on wall near my daughter’s home one of the many ‘works’ we saw in our stay in July is very cheering and celebratory.