28 Sep 2011
Hello, excuse my intrusion but my eldest son Richard and his wife Vanessa have decided with this website to drag me kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Previously, I have always sought to be incognito and have signed my name illegibly since I often believe someone else has produced the pictures that I put my name to - particularly my best.
Having failed every exam, I have no qualifications. I failed Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1950's; Massey Agricultural College also. I learnt nothing except how to play golf. Ampleforth put up with me for an eternity – I learnt nothing except how to play cricket and rugby football.
It always looked as if I was studying hard but in fact I was drawing on my desk. Layer upon layer of ink built up until it was like drawing on silk. When the ink dried the drawing disappeared.
In those days wearing a hearing aid was to carry round a 'car battery' which sounded as if one was under water. So my mind was free to enjoy hunting with the Belvoir, shooting, fishing in Ireland and cricket without much interference and I illustrated it all on the desk top.
Over the years pundits have told me that I sculpt like Rodin, drew like Augustus John and painted like Mark Huskinson – oh the poor paint, but I'm working on it.
Somehow I tied it all up with a piquant sense of humour and enjoyed a good niche market for the last 30 years. A rough calculation shows that there are some 120,000 examples of my work hanging around the world in privies to palaces.
Currently I am converting some of my best cartoons into figurines starting with the perfect host and hostess. On the patio outside my studio (on a sometimes sunlit patio) is a resting place for old wheelbarrows, garden rollers, watering cans and spades. They respond well when I try and give them life and immortality in paint.
So what makes me tick? After Edinburgh College of Art I completely lost it, although I did discover girls existed outside monasteries. There followed a career in agriculture and industry. But, for no reason, I started getting up in the middle of the night and drawing again. The drawings went to local galleries and small cheques kept coming back.
When I restarted I wrote to my Uncle Leonard, who then held the Chair at Cambridge after a career teaching in the Slade and Ruskin. I asked if I could enroll in one of his weekend art courses as I knew the parties to be good and the models beautiful.
He wrote back and said “Welcome back, like Wordsworth you will have lost little over the last 20 years. The less Art School discipline for you my boy the better. Just get a good model and it helps to have one who can type”. He died very shortly afterwards.
I hang an old shirt of his on my easel and when I get stuck or can't see then he opens my eyes and guides my hand. Hence my wish to be incognito.
I lost it again when my lovely wife Judith died in 2007. My work and all else crashed but now it is a new life and as A J Munnings wrote 'the final blast' is underway.
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SPRING SUMMER LOOKBOOK
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