Bugger Bognor?

As the crow flies, Bognor Regis is my nearest seaside resort. Whether or not King George V truly said those controversial words, the town still comes under a lot of criticism, some deserving, some not so.

But with the lovely weather that has been filling our days during April and early May, I took Children of Mine down to the beach for the afternoon during the Easter holidays where they amused themselves for hours until the tide went out, throwing stones, digging sand sculptures and making fleeting new friends with children who were down on holiday for the Easter break.

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Children of Mine skimming stones - "lower, lower!"

Though sunny, the day wasn’t warm enough for me, so I’d gone in attire more suited for a mountain walk, complete with cuppa, paper, book and my stash of art material bought at the Cumberland Pencil Museum during my last visit to Keswick.

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Never go anywhere without my cuppa!

So there I was, for what ended up being five hours, sitting on the rather uncomfortable pebbles.  A friend popped along to keep me company for an hour or so, during which we had a much-needed catch up, but the rest of the time I dabbled with a bit of sketching.

And here’s the result.

On the beach

As with my other artwork on this blog, I’ve a long way to go before wowing anyone with my skills. But I had fun with my creative activity – and isn’t that what it’s all about?

So for all its faults (and there are many), the simple pleasures of an afternoon in Bognor Regis are there for the taking…

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Discovered in Loft: ‘Scrap Heap’, ‘Last Dance’ and ‘Knight Mare’

Ok.  Continuing with the last of the artwork I found in the loft, here’s the three paintings that, aged 15, I obviously thought enough of to want to keep.  I’ve no idea what inspired them.  Although I think I may have been a little disturbed.

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I had already thought I had posted these, but no – I had merely saved the bones of this post as a draft.  Anyway, I was reminded of them during a chat with Artist Masquerading as a Manager today.

A fitting post then, perhaps, as looking at ‘Scrap Heap’ and ‘Last Dance’ again, they eerily reflect elements of the tragic events that are continuing to unfold in Japan.

Discovered in Loft: ‘Charlie the Crazy Cavalier’

Charlie the Crazy Cavalier, 1985

This is a sketch I did of one of the family dogs, Charlie, a crazed Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Of course, he wasn’t crazy when I did this sketch.  He was just an excitable and adorable puppy who had fallen asleep.

Charlie was an attempt by Mother of Mine to recreate the memory of her childhood dog, Ricky – the same breed, but from what I’ve gleaned over the years, a million miles away from Charlie in his temperament.

Sadly Charlie’s days were ended prematurely when a visit to the vet deemed him to need the doggie equivalent of a mental ward.

I cried for days.

The other family dog was Dad’s – a giant, black, hairy, bouncy Briard who we named Harry.  I forget the detail of the story (I’m really bad at remembering family history), but the gist is that Dad knew the people who imported the first Briards into the country and fell in love with the breed then.

I don’t remember ever drawing Harry – I don’t think he stayed still for long enough – but you get the general impression from this photo of him taken in 1987.

Harry the Briard, 1987

Husband of Mine is not a fan of dogs, and was especially freaked out by Hairy Harry every time he came to pick me up for the evening.  On hearing the doorbell, Harry would charge to the front door to greet visitors by putting his paws on their shoulders and slobbering over them.
Nice.

Discovered in Loft: ‘Things’

We’re nearly on to the last of the sketches.  Thankfully.

Things, 1985

Vanity case.  Mine.  Still used by me during show weeks.

Bikini.  Green if I recall correctly.  Mine.  Not still in my possession.  Although I’d still fit into it – my breasts didn’t grow any bigger.

Draped material/clothing.  Could it be the dressing gown again?  Probably mine.  No idea what it was though.

Vest top.  Probably mine.

Shoes.  Definitely mine.  They were white (weren’t they all in the 80s?) and I think I still may have them.  In the roof. 

Copy of ‘Woman’s Own’ Belonged to Mother of Mine, definitely.  Although I do remember avidly reading Claire Rayner’s agony aunt pages.

It’s so obviously a staged composition.  There’s no earthly reason why any of these objects would be together like that in reality. 

Discovered in Loft: ‘Crisp Packet’ and ‘Flint’

These two aren’t really worthy of a post at all, but for the sake of completeness, here they are.

Crisp packet, 1985

Shading is a bit suspect on both – I can hear my art teacher now asking me which direction the light was coming from.

Flint, 1985

Both drawings look as though they had a nice cup of tea spilt on them, although that could just be the aging process caused by being sandwiched between a piece of hardboard and a flattened banana box for 25 years.

So if you’re going to comment on these, be kind and just humour me. I was only 15 when these were done, and I’m not claiming to be an artist.  Well not in the true sense of the word.

Discovered in loft: ‘Hanging Folds’

Ok.  Here it is. The first piece in my O level art portfolio that I found in the loft.  The amazing thing is I’ve put it back up there.  Why?  It might be a discovery for me but it’s hardly going to be a major one for the art world when I’m dead and gone.

Hanging Folds, 1985

Mmm. I’m not sure what was interesting about this particular dressing gown.  It looks much the same as all the others I’ve had in my life.  The one I have at the moment is pale pink (not really me) but very warm and fleecy (very me; chilly mortal that I am).  Oh and unlike this one, it has a hood.  So I can look like a grumpy teenager at breakfast.

My current dressing gown is an artist in its own right.  Every morning, it casts fantastic shadows on the floor of the bathroom; the overhead spotlights are at just the perfect angle to exaggerate the curves and folds of the material and bring them to life as the silhouette of a face in profile – sometimes an animal, but more usually a witch, alien, goblin or demon. 

Deformed fantasy or sci-fi characters seem to be the focus of my artistic ability.

More to follow. Oh, the excitement.

I’m not saying a word…

“Last night I dreamt I was in a theatre. On the table there was a box. It seemed to be full of presents.  Wrapped.  I couldn’t be sure.  Are they presents? I said.  We pulled off the Christmas wrapping and they weren’t presents but clues…”

Mary.  Linda.  Linda.  Mary.  MaryLinda.  MaryLin.  MariLyn.  Marilyn Munroe.   A 24 hour character crisis.

Then, “Suddenly everything makes sense; in fact it’s triplets…”.  No.  This time it was twins.  And not Mary’s, someone else’s.

Mickey and Tony were in the dream.  And Simon and Eddie.  Caroline, Donna Marie, MaryAbi, ‘B’, ‘Streets’, ‘PinkUkelele’ – were all there too, together with unfamiliar faces, who by the end of the dream, were like old friends because we had been bound together by a shared experience.  Sammy was there, but not Sam – how could she be with her head down the toilet?  Charming On Stage Lover was there too, but only fleetingly as the doctor I remember him to be; then he would appear with a crate of milk in his hands; but most of the time he had to be uncharacteristically cold, distant and unfeeling.

Artist Masquerading as a Manager enters centre stage with Liverpool-inspired paintings.  A funfair.  Beads and bleachers and colored lights. As if she already knew.

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 Artwork © Joanne Webb

They were young, free and innocent – three good friends. Mickey, Eddie and Linda – “she’s a girl, but she’s all right.”  But is the couple in the picture Mickey and Linda? Or Linda and Eddie?

It could have been either. And yet they both died – the two clowns, who could and did get their lines right. Leaving Linda alone.

Bring the curtain down. Until September.  Because other people’s words said it all…