For the twenty-three years we’ve lived at our current address, we’ve had the same neighbours to one side of us: two elderly brothers, Dave and Roy. Actually, our twenty-three years makes us relative newcomers to the road – these two have lived here their whole lives. Literally – the house previously belonged to Dave and Roy’s parents and they’ve been here ever since. We were made to feel welcome from day one and our relationship just went from there.
Just recently, Roy, an inveterate angler, has had some quite serious health issues and one of the consequences is that he now needs to walk with the aid of a stick. So, in the spirit of ‘if you’re given lemons, make lemonade’, he decided that if he was going to be carrying a stick with him from now on, he might as well use the opportunity to make a bit of a personal statement at the same time. Which is how I came to be asked to decorate his walking-stick with fish – my first ever such commission, you won’t be at all surprised to hear but one I could hardly refuse.
I won’t pretend that a thin, cylindrical object is an ideal canvas, that I’m a natural fish artist or that my choice of matt emulsion (a most unforgiving medium) as the ideal paint for the job was in any way inspired, but once it was finished and given a couple of top-coats of varnish, it actually looked pretty striking and Roy seemed genuinely delighted with it.
It’s difficult to do justice to a wrap-around image in a single photograph, so I cobbled together the following, which inevitably ended up looking like one of David Hockney’s photo-montage pieces:
The fish, in case you’re interested (or in case it’s not obvious – far more likely) are, from top-to-bottom, Brown Trout, Salmon and Rainbow Trout. So there.
We had a new model at the club last week – Irma, who’s over from Spain for a few months studying. She was very good; here are a few 10-minute sketches from the evening: