Thursday 24th November
I discovered Art, or rather Art discovered me, in the Lower Sixth Form at Stowmarket Grammar School. Our Art teacher Jack Trodd, besides having a penchant for stroking the backs of young boys legs and almost touching their bum cheeks (we used to laugh about it – it seemed harmless enough to us 11 and 12 year olds) as he asked you to stand next to him while he showed you how to do a water-colour wash, (amazingly his right hand never faltered despite the machinations of his left) was very laxadaisical about us Sixth formers, we could come and go whenever we pleased and had a section at the back of the very well-appointed Art room reserved for our work in progress. What started off as a half a morning a week soon ended up with me in the Art room at every opportunity – I had suddenly discovered Art and I painted Faces. I would also sit up in my bedroom painting, sometimes monochrome but using Acrylics too; I was consumed with Art, and writing pretty awful poetry full of death and despair – all in all I was quite a happy teenager.
Then as a young parent I would draw and paint, trying to work out the bad memories of my errant wife’s departure in the lines of black biro, or in the obscurity of painting Alazarine Crimson dark backgrounds to numerous portraits…
I painted for years and the writing slowly improved, or so I thought. But sometime around the mid-eighties I stopped drawing and painting and only occasionally wrote. I really don’t know why but somehow the muse deserted me, or maybe I just left her crying on some street corner. I kept promising myself I would start again when I retired.
But I can still draw, and I can still paint – only in my imagination these days do I create my Masterpieces. I am simply too busy; the Café to run and a big house to decorate; so I write my little blogs for your delectation and I paint walls and ceilings and skirting boards and windows – and I am still working out the mysteries of my life, sometimes worrying over small failures or re-living some dreadful scene of the past, and as I ply the brush and try to make the strokes as neat as possible I sometimes seem to see things a bit clearer. As Billy Bragg once sung, looking out to sea on a misty morning “Sometimes I begin to see the point”