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Old lines brought forward

I met a man in Ludlow on Sunday. He was selling witches, giants and fairies. He thrust one under my nose along with a magnifying glass so that I could see it clearer. I looked. And looked again. I couldn’t see the fairy he was pointing out to me. He pointed again to it, and I saw her then. “Ah, yes, I see. You’re doing camouflage art” I said with a smile. He looked non-plussed at me. “Am I?” he queried. “Yep, I do that too, but I’m an artist, not a photographer like you”. He wrote the phrase down, as he’d not heard it before. And we chatted for a bit as I looked at more of his photographs and asked how he’d created them – I knew it was done in Photoshop, I could tell by the effect, but they had a slight unnaturalness to them, I felt. He’d taken a lot of photos and “stitched” them together to make a panarama, but had also used a lot of layers within the photos to create the slightly weird effects that the photos were depicting. Having said that, the old castles needed that strange eerie effect to depict the Gothic feel he was aiming at, and he’d added witches and giants and fairies to give more creedence to the old features of the landscape. I liked them, but still felt that if I’d done it as a painting, it would have looked a lot more cohesive as the whole picture would have been started and finished as a whole design, rather than photos that were stitched together that didn’t quite work fully as a whole image somehow.

Ludlow is a lovely town, really pretty, with lots of interesting old architecture, a castle and oodles of history creating a nice atmospheric feel to the place as it rises up from the banks of the pretty River Teme. But it was whilst I was having lunch, that I should have felt insulted. The middle aged couple next to us were sitting eating their lunch as we sat, they smiled, we smiled, and we chit-chatted about the town, the food we were eating, and other pleasantries. She said that they’d moved there recently from Nottingham, and were pleased to note as they  themselves were tall, every time they saw a tall person the people were obviously intelligent. OK. I felt that was rather a sweeping statement, but didn’t comment on it. But I smiled secretly to myself. Because no one would EVER describe me as tall (Well, except in Japan, where I did actually tower over some of the little Japanese women there). So, if I was easily insulted, that would have done it. But, I had to smile to myself, as the couple got up and left the table to continue on their walk, that she left her umbrella behind on her chair…………………….. and had to be reminded of it as she walked off, oblivious to the fact………………….

It still amazes me where things from my past are suddenly brought into the present. Last night I was chatting to the landlady of the Bulls Head pub in Repton, and she mentioned in passing that she had only recently started having the parish magazine delivered there, bearing in mind that she has lived there for three years near enough. So, as she knows me,  she was interested to note that it was my name on the image of the picture on the front cover. Yes, I nodded, I did a set of them, but it was in the mid 1980’s that I did them, and it was great to know that they were still being used, and was a great advert for me even now. But people tend to think I’ve done them recently and are astounded at how long they’ve been used for. So I’ll show you a picture here that I did around the same time – its of the Church and Cross in Repton and is done with pen on cartridge paper. I used a rapidograph pen to make the fine lines and have always liked this drawing for its clear and simple lines – they always work well for architecture.
And before you start looking, there’s nothing hidden within the picture, no witches or faires or goblins. Well, not that I know of!