A Country Herbal [detail]

Coloured Crayon

The illustrations here represent just a small sample of the work created between 1972 and 1986. When I accepted the commission for the scroll (click here to see), I had received no formal education in art, let alone training in handwriting or calligraphy. The gold paint, as the journalist enthusiastically reported, really did come from France! And the scroll is still hanging, now fifty years later, in the office of the Clerk to the Council.

So much has changed since the very early 70s. Back then a young French woman arriving in an English provincial town was a newsworthy event – the UK had not even joined the EU let alone voted to leave it. Yes, I sold several “old master” style paintings, run up stage design for a school’s amateur dramatics and illustrated its magazine. In 1975, I moved to Kettering and two years later enrolled in a pottery class and then a Foundation Course in Art. Now my studies began in earnest and a future of sorts began to take shape. Having previously left school at 14 the Basket of Onions, and Pencil Tips were among my first projects. Later at Polytechnic, there was more space for experimentation. Toffee Apples rendered with acrylic paint; lettering using wax resist as exemplified by The Ghost Train; the use of coloured crayons in All Sorts and Noah’s Ark. Pencil and pencil crayons would become media which I would come to use extensively given my penchant for and satisfaction with the results of control and precision-indeed these qualities would be demanded of by my new employers. My quartet of drawings of a spring-loaded angle-poise lamp could be seen as the apotheosis of my drawing.

By now I was 37 years old, hardly green in judgement as the young Cleopatra had been when she spoke of her salad days with her paramour Julius Caesar. But as a painter of the pictures that predominate the many other pages of this website, I had yet to make a start!

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