Friday, 27 February 2015

a girl, her Dad, a parrot, a monkey

me & my Dad
photo taken by an unknown photographer

This is a photo of me and my Dad, taken on an outing to the circus in the late 1950s or early 1960s.  I remember my trousers were dark green tartan.  My coat was grey and my shoes almost certainly red.  My Dad is holding my handbag so that I can hold the parrot and the monkey.  He is wearing his overcoat.  He got it in the late 1940s and my mother made him throw it away in the Seventies.  He got another one though, which I think is the one that's in his wardrobe now. I wouldn't be surprised.

There are several clues to the date of the photo : the "Players Please" neon sign advertising cigarettes above the shop window;  the headscarf, seamed stockings and ankle boots of the woman on the left; the duffle coat of the man hurrying into the picture from the right;  and not least, the fact that we are posing with a parrot and a monkey.  I remember the parrot had large claws and the monkey had small claws, and they both gripped a bit.

This is at once a highly personal but also historical picture - a snapshot which could only have been taken in a particular era.  Last week the man from Google warned us that we might lose today's equivalent of these photos unless we print them out and keep them, as newer technologies supersede the old and files become unretrievable.

So let's do that. Have our favourite photos printed out - professionally, as home printing won't last as well, no matter what they say.  Frame them and hang them on the wall.  Write the date, the names of the people and where the picture was taken on the back of the photo, because it's all too easy to forget (my Dad was convinced this photo was taken at Pinner Fair, I guess he hadn't noticed the word 'circus' reflected in the glass behind us).  That way, future generations will know what they are looking at.  And in the meantime, we will have a precious memory to treasure every day.

In loving memory of Peter Vasquez
1928 -2015
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon him
May he rest in peace

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


hyacinths - pen & wash
© Teresa Newham

When I was given some hyacinths at Christmas, I knew I would have to paint them sooner or later.  Sure enough, they sat on the studio windowsill calling to me with their scent until I gave in:

the subject
© Teresa Newham

I drew them in pencil and inked the drawing over on the first day, having propped up the hyacinth in the middle which was a little ahead of its fellows and had drooped a bit.

initial drawing, inked in
© Teresa Newham

By the seond day, however, the other two had also gone over, and had to be supported on sticks so I could get on with the painting - a familiar problem to anyone who has ever tried to paint spring flowers for longer than a couple of hours!

. . . and had to be supported while the paint was added!
© Teresa Newham

Perhaps it was their general exuberance which led me to bring the drawing so close to the edge of the paper, or perhaps I just wasn't paying enough attention.  Either way, they don't fit any of my mounts, and will have to be given a new one.  Or perhaps I'll just cover the edges of the drawing with the mount and call it a concept . . . .

should have drawn to the mount size!
© Teresa Newham