Coming up next year…

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I’m working on a little book written by my chum Gordon Thorburn, ( Men and Sheds ) who apart from writing about sheds and bomber pilots from the Second World War ( Books about all sorts ), has written a little tome about…well, I’ll leave exactly what it’s about until I have it all ready.

I’m doing the drawings for it and hope to publish it on-line in the New Year, or perhaps will be able to make a start before Christmas, as you’ll have plenty of time to read, learn, and digest. We’ll see.

It will be on this site every week, on the same day, until it’s demise. I found it entertaining and witty. I suppose it is aimed at children so it did suit me very well.

Here’s a rough of one of the drawings for it, followed by the next version, some of you illustrator people out there might be interested in the technicalities: there are none. It’s drawn straight onto layout paper with a Pentel sign pen, then drawn again, then drawn again for the final, then mounted onto board with Studio Gum ( today’s equivalent of Cow Gum ) and some pastel half tone and shadow might be added and perhaps a bit of whiting out of some areas with Dr PH. Martin’s Bleed Proof White ( I kid you not! ). If it needs any more surgery after that then I use a scalpel to cut out or amend, cutting through the top layer of layout paper. Then the final is scanned and if necessary some final tweaks are made, digitally.

This is drawing one, followed by drawing two, final will follow when the book is published here.

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Jasper Johns must have been a gardener.

Or at least a man with a shed.

For those not of an artistic persuasion, you should know that Jasper Johns was, and perhaps is, a great American artist.He’s still with us! I recall in my late school days loving his work. As I understand it he went out of favour later on in his career, though I claim no special knowledge. He has an exhibition on in London at present at the Royal Academy, so I presume that those in the flow of these things, consider it’s time to resurrect his reputation.

Jasper Johns Exhibition at the RA

I am going to go along for old times sake, and to take a look at the people looking at the work. Great place for people watching.

There’s something slightly ‘up cycling’ about his stuff to me. He makes common objects into things of beauty, but then I think many common objects are. Perhaps it’s just that he makes us look, or at least helps us look. The RA says this about his stuff: “His treatment of iconography and appropriation of objects, symbols and words makes the familiar unfamiliar, achieving this through the distinctive, complex textures of his works.” Anyone know what that means in plain English?

I was reminded of his work as I strolled back from my allotment. There I was “appropriating objects”. Perhaps he was a gardener too?

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Jasper Johns: Ventriloquist, 1983.

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Paul Davies: Sheddist 2017

Some of my friends have gone…

Travelling in leatherweb

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These chaps above have all gone to new homes as well as the finished version of the one below. In many ways I prefer the one below to the final. I’m sure they’ve all gone to good homes. The bike drawing has been sold for charity, so I am particularly pleased about that. It was bought by a chap who’s friend is greatly into motorbikes. The charity that will benefit is Headway. This one’s for charity

Hoping for a fine day today so that I can find new homes for some of the others, but it’s been a good week anyway.

Interestingly, the drawing that has had the most reaction is the one on the poster below and still no one mentions the bear,like it’s normal to have a stuffed bear in the loft.

A quick tour of the exhibition.

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Thanks to all those people who have dropped by in the last few days and to those of you out there worldwide who have dropped in here.

You can see more of what’s on in the show right here:My site where you can buy prints of many of the images that I have in the show.

Cornfield singing

As a change from my drawings about the British here’s my chum Robin singing about John Barleycorn, in a cornfield near to the River Severn in Gloucestershire. It’s all part of the British Character, and we talk a lot about marmalade. It’s important.

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What’s happening to the French?

Just been there and before I go on about them let me say that there’s something I like a lot about the French. In fact, there are many things that I like about the French. They tend never to apologize, we are always saying sorry. They tend to think that the response to something going wrong is, of course, your fault. It may well be, but in France, it is always the case. Even when it’s not.

Another thing I like about the French is the food and their attitude to it, but here something is going terribly wrong. The French are able to cook like almost no other nationality, and they have exported their skills. We’ve learned a lot of them, and put them into practice. We’ve learned from a lot of other people, as we had no one to learn from over here. Apart from Saint Delia and that geezer wot is saving our kid’s school dinners. Elisabeth David brought us olive oil, and a load of recipes from the Med, when the prevailing wisdom here was that olive oil should inserted in the ear for an earache. Now we actually use it on salad in place of salad cream which was not cream and was not pleasant. Our salads were n’t up to much either.

One could get a decent meal almost anywhere in France, and motorway service areas served food that was passable and coffee that was so strong it would enable the sleepiest of drivers to stay awake and alert for at least 400 miles per cup. And it was served in a white china cup. Not anymore. Service areas are awash with coffee machines and if you do go and get a ‘cup’ from the counter, it will more than likely be a paper one. Whereas over here our Service Stations are better than they have ever been. The one in Gloucester, where there is no branding of any kind is a beacon of good taste and a magnet for local people searching for good food items.Take a look or call in Gloucester Services and these days one does not have to go far to search for good food in the UK. It’s everywhere. Whereas in France they have taken backward steps.

It’s time for them to learn a few of their own lessons from us. To import what they exported to us: the love of food and coffee. I am naturally hoping that their new President will be reading this and will be taking steps to improve matters quickly before it’s too late.

I’m not expecting him to apologise. They never do. That’s one thing that will never change.


 

Another feature of my trip was a meeting with a French woman who was an English teacher. She spoke superb English without the slightest Fench accent. Yet we have Frenchmen over here who’ve lived here for years, like that chef Raymond Buerre Blanc or whatever he’s called, sounds like e as joost left le bateau een Porsmoof. Now there’s a word in English that the French can never pronounce: Portsmouth. It’s torture for them. They get their own back by naming a French south western seaside town : Royan.This is a word beyond the ability of an English person to pronounce properly. So we’re even.

Au revoir. Vive La France!

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This is me in typical French holiday fashion gear, it was chucking it down.
As we say: We brought the English weather with us. Yes, I’d packed it with the
shorts I’m wearing now I’m back in England.

 

 

British Railway Station kiosk reader, is this accurate today?Perhaps not.

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Another in my series of black and white drawings about the British and reviewing this today, it seems perhaps that it may be a bit dated. Artists sometimes talk about their work in terms of how they have been inspired by others, and what they were trying to do. Well this is supposed to be about those people who’s job is to sell  newspapers and magazines, none of which are normally of great literary merit. I imagined that perhaps there exists somewhere a newspaper seller that spends his or her ‘downtime’ reading the classics whilst surrounded by all the other stuff.

Our man here is reading ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ a favourite of mine in the literature stakes. It’s interesting to note that Thomas Hardy who wrote this classic, wrote many of his stories in episodic chapters, to go into ‘journals’ that would no doubt have been found at Railway stations a little like this one, for passengers to read on their journey.

This Railway station is an amalgam of places like Paddington and others where large column dominated. The soot from the previous train generations cooked them into  areas lit sometimes only by the light of the kiosk. This has changed and a recent visit to Birmingham’s New Street station with it’s acres of carefully designed and beautifully lit concourse gives the lie to this drawing, perhaps. However, there was something quite romantic and mysterious about these old Victorian Sooty monliths.

I’ve always had the feeling that these people who inhabit these little workplaces are never closed and perhaps live in an underground shelter beneath.

This drawing, along with loads more, will be in the Exhibition in August which is from 16th August to the 22nd at the Gardens Gallery, Montpellier, Cheltenham. Come along and say hello, I’ll be there every day.

More about the theme of the show can be found right here: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

Bookseller

My drawing was probably inspired by this sort of thing seen in the Guardian, except in my musings I expected the bloke behind the counter to be something a little more intelligent than smoking, false hope perhaps.

 

“Anyone wanting to be Prime Minister should be automatically discounted”

Paradise

The joys of walking are many and various, walking with a chum is recommended, though walking alone can sometimes have it’s moments too.

Today I set out early with my chum Robin. We were expecting hot weather so the early start was a must, and it was perfect. A walk in Paradise, as it really is called, just outside Painswick. Cotswold landscape at its very best. There used to be a bus stop there but it seems to have been dispensed with. Take a look here for a previous visit:  Jesus drives a Porsche in Paradise.

Walking and talking we got into things political and I expressed some doubts about our rulers, whereupon Robin came up with the quote of the day: “Anyone wanting that job should not be allowed to do it” he said and I tend to agree. Thrusting ambition and naked greed for power seem to most of us to be unsuitable attributes to be a leader of the nation. But what do we know?

The subject was quickly dispensed with as we got on with worthier ones. We came across these horses. Now I’m not a big fan of horses as they can step on you and bite, but these chaps were not in the mood for anything but a curious bit of tail waving and strolling. At “3 o’clock” ( fighter pilot parlance I believe ) in the image you might glance another demon, looks like it might be a flying insect ready for breakfast. Scamble! Scramble!

Paradise tree

Down in the valley where we kept cool, we took a break for a stare and a minor rendition from Robin, who’s a fine folk singer. Here he is backed by various birds whilst we take in a quick drying hay field. He and his fellow singers, known collectively as the Gloucester Diamonds have recently put together a cd of some lovely songs. Find out more right here: The Gloucester Diamonds

The walk ended in Painswick where we found a super little coffee shop after passing this chap mowing the bowling green for no apparent reason. I suspect that he would not gather more than a handful of clippings from the entire area. He had markers to guide where he’s been! It was like giving a completely bald bloke a haircut with a pair of electric clippers. We expected him to come out afterward and get the steam iron out on it. Now here’s a bloke who might make a good prime minister.

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Just got back from the Isle of Skye…

…and still, I have my trousers.

A week’s walking with 2 Canadians 3 Americans and two Brits, my other half included and a Scottish Leader. Scottish Leader was brilliant all round and the others all very good company too. We were all there to discover the same thing, that is the delights of walking in Skye. There were two ‘elephants in the room’: Trump and May, but amazingly we all seemed to be of the same mind. This was something of a blessing.

We all had a lot to talk about and loads of walking to do. I’ll let the pictures do the talking this time and it’s back to cartoons next time, rather than “What I did on my holidays”

Can’t go without mentioning the weather: generally good, sunny in patches, windy enough to keep the midges grounded for the most part. The rest of the UK was apparently cold and very wet, but we missed it.

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This is where “Ring of Bright Water’ was written and where Gavin Maxwell lived and wrote the book.  Ring of Bright Water

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Still life with seaweed

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Beach which has seaweed that has turned to this:

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This is the graveyard where Flora Macdonald is buried along with fashion designer Alexander McQueen. I wonder if he would have liked his headstone, the location could not be beaten.

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We climbed so high it felt like we were looking down from an aircraft, the light changed every few seconds and the views were just amazing as you can see here. What you might not get from this is the huge scale of the mountains. On a clear day, you can see Japanese tourists in thin clothing and designer handbags tottering up to view the strange people in boots walking the hills in rainproof gear and waterproof gaiters and gloves, in June!


 

Barbeques and garden machinery, the Germans have it right.

I’m forever being told that I should like barbeques, and I don’t. I certainly don’t much care for ‘having a go’ at doing one myself. This from bitter experience of lighting said fire and then waiting for hours before it got to the right temperature to grill a sausage. Said fire was still glowing at 2.00 in the morning with enough heat to cook a large beast. To say it was a fire risk is only a small understatement. And it’s the sun that brings them out. Any nearly warm sunny day brings out the charcoal and the flames, or the portable gas behemoth that’s been breeding germs in the garage where it was dumped last year when the sun hid for months.

Of course before the barbeque you must pressure wash the patio so that the grease stains will have somewhere to land and guests can mingle around in their best casual stuff that will smell of carbon forever after this day. The sound of this washer is enough to wake anyone in the district wanting a nice Sunday lie in, as if a fire engine was doing a practice quirt in the garden.

Best cut the grass while your at it. Fire up the motor mower and lets get some stripes into those lawns: the British Obsession. It’s all to do with those public schools surrounded by acres of manicured grass so the fee payers can be seen to be getting their money’s worth. For those of you not in the UK reading this, public schools in the UK are private and have to be paid for by the parents. They are not normally called private schools. Grammar schools are state schools where you have to pass an exam to get in and the rest go to secondary schools that are sometimes branded as academies. Some secondary schools were called secondary modern schools, but this title became a little tainted as if they were failures and not very modern at all. Most schools have manicured playing fields but the public ( private ) schools have the huge ones with no weeds at all, and some of the secondaries have sold their fields for cash. Where once lay playing fields now sport “Executive Homes” in roads with country names like “Field Court View”, though there is no view.

I digress.

Barbeques and the operation of garden machinery are as we all know are banned on a Sunday in Germany. If this is fake news then it shouldn’t be and the Germans have it right. OK sausage?

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My love of barbeques is illustrated here from one of the pieces that will be in my exhibition here in Cheltenham at the Gardens Gallery from August 16th to the 22nd.

How much!!!!!!!!!??????

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I’m in the middle of getting together my exhibition stuff for August, and here’s one of the final pieces. If a cartoon can be called a “piece”. There I go again devaluing what I do. In the good old days when I was working for ad agencies and design companies these sorts of drawings were commissioned and the fee was based on the use it was put to. If it was a visual then you’d be lucky to get £60-00 for it, if it was used for editorial in a magazine then it could be less than that. On the other hand if it was used for a small ad campaign then the fee could be aropund £300-00 or more to include the rights to the drawing. For a big ad campaign it could go into four figures ( rare this! )  This was in the 80’s and in the heyday of illustration being commissioned, and I was lucky to have had my best years of illustration commissions then.

Now I’ve changed direction and I’m doing all my own ideas and will soon be publishing them as prints from my website and having an exhibition of the originals. This one is just  a sample of one of the prints on drawings about people with apt names, these two being Valerie Uptchuous and Benjamin Dover: Ballroom Dancing Champions. The original of this will be on sale at the exhibition, and this version as a print. Here’s another : Desmond Pratt

As someone who’s been ‘in the business’ for years I’m used to people saying ” How much!!?? ” when I tell them what I want for a drawing. This phrase is usually followed by the muttered, spluttered  “…but it will only take you a short time to do it” as if creative work should be charged by the hour like a taxi driver on a meter.

The point of this is “How much?” I want to sell them, and of course I have digital files of all of them and I’m not selling the rights to the images, just the orginal black and white artwork.

I guess I’ll find a way, or let the market decide as they say. We’ll see. I’ll be posting more on the exhibitoion as we get closer to it in August. Apart from the drawings about people with apt names, there will be a series about the British, see here for more about that: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character  Indicentally I’m still trying to find living relatives of the esteemed “Pont” to invite them along to the exhibition, but no luck so far.

I’m looking forward to it myself. I’m looking for other venues around the country to show it too, so any suggestions on where I might be able to take it, then let me know. I’ve looked in London but my reaction when I saw what they wanted for the rental of a small exhibition space was “How much!!!!!!!??????”