My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Songs for my supper...

It was through necessity that I declared myself as an artist on the pavements of France and Belgium in the late 1960’s.  We had sailed a converted coal barge to France with five pounds in our pockets.  My sketches were our means of survival - songs for my supper.  The courage it takes to set up cap and easel on the pavement is best expressed by the poet and writer Laurie Lee in his book “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning”. 

“Presently I got up and dressed, stuck my violin under my jacket and went out into the streets to try my luck.  I was now or never.  I must face it now or pack up and go home.  I wondered about for an hour looking for a likely spot, feeling as though I were about to commit a crime.  Then I stopped at last under a bridge near the station and decided to have a go. 

I felt tense and shaky.  It was the first time after all.  I drew the violin from my coat like a gun.  It was here, in Southampton, with trains rattling overhead, that I was about to declare myself.  One moment I was part of the hurrying crowds, the next I stood nakedly apart, my back to the wall, my hat on the pavement before me, my violin under my chin.

When I’d finished the first tune there was over a shilling in my hat: it seemed too easy, like a confidence trick.  But I was elated now; I felt that wherever I went from here, this was a trick I could always live by.”

Here is the market place in Bruges, one of the rare sketches from those early days.

1 comment:

  1. I read 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' when I was in my teens and was totally absorbed by it. That small extract makes me think I should read it again!

    I love the sketch. It is so busy and full of life! It is also one of the few places I have actually visited!