I have a lot of faith in the corner of my eye. The other day, having just heard that a grandson would love – but how? – to learn the drums, something blue and shiny caught my attention as I drove down the hill. A sign was propped up. I read the words ‘Take Me’ leaning against what was in fact a more or less new drum set! Four drums, pedals, cymbals, sticks – how could I resist? Stopping to look, a lady emerged from a likely front door. ‘Yours?’ said I. ‘No, but they’ve only just this minute appeared. You’re lucky.’ I persuaded a passing schoolboy to help me load them into the car – where they had to stay for a couple of weeks until a space was found! We were lucky.
This week is the blog’s first birthday – 27 postings and over 20,000 views – so a huge thank you to everyone who has looked, commented, supported, contributed and enjoyed. And thanks to Joe and Rohan for making it possible at all. So on we go. I love writing and illustrating it – and am constantly surprised at the turns it takes once I start. In celebration of this first blog year there are plans afoot for a little show to display some of the paintings and new work, and to sign some books too.
On my way to Livingstone Studio to discuss this exciting Maytime exhibition venture (of which details will follow) I noticed a removal van with a palm tree in the back. It was parked outside a block of flats – the same block I’m planning to move into quite soon – in fact I recognised the actual palm tree from the very flat in which I hope to be living next month….
I’ve been lucky enough to have had several opportunities to celebrate Susan’s and my working past this last few days – meeting the Fischbachers at Chelsea Harbour‘s design week gave me the chance to mull over again the adventure that was Cote d’Azur and the Six Views Collection of 1984. And a talk to students at Morley College was fun with a lightning review of our life’s work, a lot of chat about the pleasures and advantages of painting with gouache as well as the demands of making good repeats.
Early one morning on the way across the river to deliver a new stock of cards to Joss Graham I saw a cyclist whose interesting bright geranium red clothes naturally took my eye. As I passed I noticed a tiny shock of acid orange hair – Dame Vivienne pedalling to work! And at the Selvedge Spring Fair Jane, welcoming, looked fab in scarlet and Roxy made a colourful entrance wearing our specially painted Spotted Creatures scarf.
The evening before had seen the opening of Kaffe Fassett‘s retrospective exhibition ‘A Life in Colour’ at the FTM. What a great generous burst of colour, pattern, stitchery and painting – a fitting fanfare for a lifetime’s work devoted to making and loving textiles. At The Wool House Cristian Zunzunga‘s (what a fabulous name) Infinity Carpet was a pathway of colour for us to meander along. In these snowy slushy days I’m thankful for my yellow boots and Turkish socks to keep me warm, dry and cheerful. This tribe of colour-mongers is making itself known.
The streets are full of art. These teeny paintings are made by an artist in North London – he decorates the chewing-gum stains on the pavements! In Stockwell this vine was planted and grew on a series of dreary walls and bloomed there for about 15 minutes before the council cleaners screeched up and re-gloomed them with brown paint.
The tradition of temporary decorations on the ground is an old one; an Indian lady is drawing with sand, and this gentleman is laying out his lines with little stones.
………A just-seen poster in the tube made me smile, and gave my mind an echo of the sound of the musical lift in the RFH as it glides up and down scaling the heights of the building.
Thinking about music in the street I’m reminded of a song on an old Pete Seeger record about an inebriate who finally collapses in the gutter in the company of a pig. A passing lady remarks ‘You can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses’ The last line of the song always makes me laugh: ‘And the pig got up and slowly walked away.’