Saturday, 16 February 2008

Two things

Well, maybe more than two, but I had two things I wanted to say in particular.

First thing: Found out this week that an artist I like died. His name was Mick Cawston, and he produced the most fantastic pictures of British wildlife.

He also did paintings of anthropomorphisised (sp?) animals, like foxes being poachers. They were not to my taste particularly, but they were beautifully done, and very popular.

I met him once, years ago in a pub in Devon. We were down there doing a re-enactment and were all piled into a pub. I was chatting to a mate and noticed this distinctly dodgy old hippy staring at me. I ignored it, until he came and joined me at the table.

He was very polite, made a bit of small talk, then asked me if I minded if he painted me. I realised that the small suitcase by his side was in fact a portable easel, and said yes, of course.

Well, you would, wouldn't you?

He sat there quietly, and in about 10 minutes produced a fabulous painting of me, then added a couple of others to the picture.

Not something that happens to me every day.

I asked if I could buy the painting because it was (a) of me and my mates, (b) bloody excellent and (c) something I had just watched him do. He said no, he wasn't able to sell it. I bought him a drink and refused to give up.

He finally agreed to give me the picture on the condition that I pimped for him for the rest of the weekend and rounded up more "interesting looking people" for him to paint. I agreed, and he spent the next two days on and off on the pub with us, drawing dozens of pictures.

As the evenings went on and more and more drinks were bought for him, the pictures became more sketchy, but you could still see he was technically brilliant.

I asked him if he'd sign the one of me, but he said "No, my agent doesn't like me signing stuff like this." I laughed, assuming he was kidding, and took my treasured picture home with me.

Months later, looking through Shooting Times, there he was, a photo in a small advert for his work. The self-same dodgy looking hippy, now named as Mick Cawston, and described as one of the finest wildlife artists of his generation.

And I have a painting he did of me. In a pub. In Devon. I am very sorry he's gone.

The other thing, much less culturally significant...

This blog was ONE last week. Happy birthday to it. And they said it wouldn't last.


badgerdaddy said...

That is one of the finest, nicest, smiliest memories I can remember reading on any blog. Ta for that.

John said...

Happy Birthday!

And how cool, it's nice that he was so down to earth.

B.E. Earl said...

Happy Birthday blog!

And thank you for not posting the pictures of the fox as a poacher. I'm a bit anthropomorphophobic.

(OK...not really. But isn't anthropomorphophobic a fun word?)

livesbythewoods said...

Badgerdaddy, he was a true original and I was proud to have met him. And the picture is grand too.

John, Mr Earl, thanks very much. I was a bit startled when I realised it had been 12 months. All that time, and nothing original to say.

How marvellous.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogg birthday
and ooo take a pic of the pic?

livesbythewoods said...

Hello Geordie boy! No, the picture is too personal to publish. Plus it is really easy to recognise all of us from it. Heh.