After a weekend away I came home on Sunday night to two answerphone messages one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday from a woman I hadn’t heard of before, asking me to call her back regarding a drawing she wanted to commission me to do for her. I rang her apologising for the late hour and explained I had been away for the weekend but was back now and how could I help her. She explained that she wanted a drawing done as a gift for someone and described the place she wanted me to draw.. I smiled in recognition, as it was St Saviours Church in Foremarke (near Repton in South Derbyshire for those who don’t know it, its tucked out of the way surrounded by fields and down a bit of a track, and you’d easily miss it if you didn’t know where it was). The reason I knew it well was because I have drawn it before, twice infact, the first time was when I was commissioned in March 1992 by Repton Parish Magazine to draw it in pen and ink along with five other drawings, for them to use on their covers, and at the time I thought they had paid me VERY well for it, but they have certainly had their moneys worth as they are still using them 27 years later!! But I don’t mind of course, as its still a very good advert for me and infact that was how my name had come up to the elderly woman who had contacted me for this particular job.
The second time I drew the church was in September of 2014, a mere four and a half years ago, for a chap who had got married there and wanted me to do a watercolour of it as a lovely surprise for his wife for a Christmas present. And he told me afterwards how delighted she was with it so happy faces all around with that!
So, this particular church is like an old friend to me!
I rang the woman who wants this third commission doing on the Monday lunchtime as I knew that by then she had been able to think more about what she wanted me to draw for her, since she wasn’t sure if she wanted the exterior of the church, or the interior. Its a gift for someone and she wanted to get the right viewpoint regarding it, she had had a think about it, and decided on the interior.. which I was really pleased about since it was a new part of the church that I hadn’t captured before. And added to the mystery for me was the fact that although I was brought up in Repton, and had certainly been in Foremarke church, many many years ago, it was so long ago I had no recollection of how it looked.
I told the woman that I had a busy week ahead and asked when she wanted me to meet her at the church for me to take photos of the subject matter and she said “Whenever it suits you”. I looked out of the window and made a quick decision.. because last week the weather was dire, it had been misty and murky that particular morning, but it appeared to be clearing up and the sun making an appearance.. so I said “How about this afternoon, 2pm?” and she said “Perfect!” so I was delighted that she could meet me so quickly.
An hour and a half later I was there, and she turned up ten minutes later, both of us early for the 2pm arrangement. It was nice to meet her, and put a face to the name, as we went in the church and she explained what she wanted. I nodded and was delighted that the sun was shining so well, and as we walked into the church, what I had hoped would be the case was happening.. the sun was streaming through the window bringing the old church alive. She had described the interior of the church as simple, and when I asked when it was built she said “1620” … wow I thought, wondering how many people had passed through those doors in that time. The walls were plain white, and there was only one stained glass window at the far end behind the altar, but the other windows were elegant in their shape, and the hooded pulpit added interest, as did the carved screen and the boxed pews, the old wooden roof fascinated me, and the stone floor, so I was more than happy taking lots of photos, partly for my benefit as much as the commission source photos. The woman had suggested one particular place for the photo and I turned to her with a smile telling her she had a good “artists eye” which pleased her, she knew what was important in the photo for the drawing. And I was happy to comply with that. She chose the subject, it was my job to make it look good!
We had discussed over the phone my charges and I had said that I was happy for her to set the price, as its difficult for me to say a particular price and lose the sale, so she suggested three hours of my time and I nodded and said I was more than happy at that, and it would give me enough time to get a good drawing done for her. She wants it done in pen and ink, like the first one I did for the Parish Magazine, so I was very happy at that decision too, I love doing pen and ink drawings of old buildings. She also wanted me to frame it and we agreed the drawing would be A4 size (11 x 8 inches) as that would make it a good size for the recipient.
And then she asked me if I wanted a deposit and I said “Yes, I ask for 20% as a deposit for any work I do” and she shook her head and said “No, I’m not bothering about that, would you like 50%?” and I smiled at her and said “I won’t say no to that!!” and was very pleased that she trusts me so much that she knows I will do a good job for her. She gave me the money and I said I would ring her when I got home with a suggestion of the choice of frame for her. I drove home smiling in anticipation of doing this drawing for her, with the lovely sunlight shining on the beautiful South Derbyshire countryside that I know so well.
When I rang her later on that afternoon she was happy with the frame I had chosen for her and now I can start it. And she commented on how fortuitous it was that the weather was so good for the photos, that afternoon, with the sun shining through the windows, and I agreed, and said how I always like it when good things go well like that, as it means that its meant to be, and she agreed. Her comment was “God was certainly looking down on us” .. and although I wouldn’t have used those words, I knew what she meant.
It will be like visiting an old friend, doing this drawing, of a place that I first drew 27 years ago. I have improved a lot since then!