Stuart Haywood sent me an email today to remind me that tomorrow was 12 years since he and I met. We met because he wanted to be drawn in the nude, and seen through the eyes of someone else, and an artist friend of mine had recommended me to him for doing that particular commission. In that 12 years span he has commissioned me a number of times to draw him and I have also depicted him in watercolours – my favourite being "Stuart Haywood baring all at 75" which features him and his wife, his love of gardening, cricket, reading, music, writing, and his past vocation of working for a bookmakers, all featured as part of that celebration of him becoming a naturist since he first met me and gained confidence in being seen in the nude. The most difficult painting he commissioned me to do was "The bothy, Calke Abbey" which he wanted me to paint for him as a reminder of his time working there as a volunteer gardener in the beautiful gardens of that lovely stately home owned by the National Trust in south Derbyshire, and even though the interior of the building looks simple, its actually two photos I took seamlessly merged together! Stuart still regularly emails me with updates about his naturist holidays, and love of gardening, in particular old English roses.
But while I am thinking about my friendships forged through art, I have also been reminded of my good friend Mike in America, who I have known for 13 years, and who has also been a very keen fan of my artwork, and has a number of my paintings hanging on his walls, including three watercolours – the evocative and sexy dancer in "Sex on legs", the fun and lively "Fur coat and no knickers", and the also very evocative and poignant lovers in "Hot stuff" all shown here in their lovely bright colours. He has also been a good friend to me in that time via our email conversations about life and art, travel, and life experiences. And we both enlighten the other on the many diverse and entertaining differences across the Atlantic of our English/American outlook on life.
But as well as that as I think of my arty connections forging friendships, I am also celebrating a brand new friendship, one only made in the last three months, and that is the woman who I did the three erotic paintings of…. a tiny part of the three paintings depicted here..but no clues as to the full subject! I like the easy way we speak to each other, and similar sense of humour we both have, and outlook on life. I like the way that when we met when she came to collect her paintings, she stayed for a few hours and we talked and talked about all manner of subjects. And look forward to that friendship growing when we are able to mix again after the very limiting restrictions of the Covid lockdown we’re all in this year.
I am grateful to my three arty friendships for the many conversations, fun, laughter, insightful comments, and celebration of life that we have all found through a shared love of art. Long may it continue!