When recovering from major shoulder surgery, for the second time, I was completely unable to use my right arm for a while. I was bored and in pain, so as a distraction decided to try my hand at portaiture for the first time, using my left hand. This was in between writing swing arrangements for my virtual jazz combo (my so-called 'Basement Jazz'). I worked mostly from photographs, and experimented with various mediums (media?), most of which were effectively extended drawings - oil & chalk pastels being the most common. It was just the therapy I needed, and I produced dozens of portraits. In the following three or four years I did several more, but - mercifully perhaps - no longer do any artwork (2016....) since my Parkinson's has progressed.
None of these portraits are rogues, of course! All my family and friends.....
My Dad [pencil drawing]
My father died on January 2nd 2012 after a fall, and part of my grieving has been helped by drawing and painting his image from old photos. This pencil sketch catches the intensity of his gaze. And what character there is in that face!
This is such a typical image of Dad, on holiday in Pembrokeshire, burning the raked up grass, bramble & bracken from around the Bung. The lower 'garage' behind is where we slept as children, or in the huts out of the picture to the left. Dad used one hut to work in too. These no longer exist - the lower 'garage' was falling apart and anyway had asbestos in it (lots of things had asbestos when we were young - we even used asbestos mats for cooking on!). The medium is thick acrylic paint.
Fev 007 - ['charcoal' pencils, black, various shades of grey, and white] - 2008
Fev is our name for Heather - and this picture was drawn on Boxing Day 2008 when we went to Dancing Ledge to see the waves and work off with a little walk some of the previous day's culinary excesses.... I used various pencils ranging from black, through many shades of grey, to white, and of course did lots of smudging with my fingers. I like producing pictures with plenty of contrast - they seem to work so much better. This, as almost all of my portraits, is drawn from a photogaph. I see no problem at all using my camera as a tool to help me create my pictures. It is the end result that matters - that is all.
My Dad [conte]
My Dad - conte crayon
My Uncle Hugh - my father's younger brother - pen & ink Dec 2010
My uncle Hugh -- from the same image I made a charcoal/sepia drawing:
My Granny (my Dad's Mother) [charcoal]
Granny Birley - (charcoal)
Sally [conte drawing]
Sally - conte drawing
Martin Graham [oil pastel]
Jon Anderson [felt tips]
Jon in Wales [Pemrokeshire]
Anna [pencil] - just as she left home for her trip to Durham University to read PPE. This was in the street seconds before I stood in the road waving the car farewell as it turned the corner at the lights at the top of Great Western Road....
Anna before University
Sally and I had a holiday in February half term in Paris, paid for by our children [as a Christmas present]. We stayed in a small hotel from which we walked throughout this fantastic city in the unseasonal warmth of a false Parisian Spring - shirt-sleeves and sunbathing! What a fabulous time we had....
Sally in Paris [felt tip on waxy tracing paper]
Sally in Paris
Self portrait in Brittany [pen & ink]
Self portrait in London [pen & ink, coloured]
Self portrait [charcoal]
Self portrait - charcoal
Self portrait at Dancing Ledge [charcoal pencils]
Self portrait at Dancing Ledges [charcoal]
Sally on Melgan beach [oil pastels]
Sally on Melgan in high summer
Sam [pen & ink]
Sam - always smiling!
Sam (i) [two-tone papercut]
Sam (ii) [two-tone papercut]
Mike on Maiden Castle [pen & ink with wash]
Mike on Maiden Castle
Self portrait (i) [two-tone papercut]
Self portrait (ii) [two-tone papercut]
Heather [magic marker felt tip drawing] - a rather poor photograph of picture - if you look hard you can see the camera reflected in the glass!
Heather - felt tip
Heather & her trumpet
(i) Pen & ink
Our Skipper.... [magic markers & tippex(!)]
Richard Beniston was the best skipper anyone could have hoped for. He let us experience handling all aspects of the boat ourselves, but was a master of seamanship himself. Sheeting in to maximize our speed round the south of the IoW - we were doing over 12 knots over the ground, and water was almost coming into the cockpit, so keeled over we were - was supremely exciting!
It was Mike who put me up to accompanying him on this sailing adventure - a weekend aboard a 38 foot super yacht, working up to a race against 5 other similar boats circumnavigating the Isle of Wight. We were divided into crews of six: a professional skipper, four 'able-bodied' crew members plus one 'Parky' - that in our case was me, although I was reasonably able-bodied at this time. We won the race in about eight-and-a-half hours, a pretty fast time by any standards [this despite being almost becalmed for an hour at the east end of the island]. This picture of Mike poking his head up through the hatch-way is priceless! He and I shared the forward cabin - a brave decision of his to tolerate my snoring and restless insomnia.... but what an adventure we had!
Mike at forward hatch [monochrome magic markers]
Philippa - fellow crew member [magic markers]
The six crew members comprised a good mix, and we all got on well together. I hope we can meet up again sometime soon....
I particularly delighted in drawing the reflection in the sunglasses - easy but so effective!
Self portrait on board [magic markers]
Me 'sailing the Island' in June 2008 [magic marker felt-tips]
We all took turns at the helm - harder than it looks - and I snapped this image of Mike concentrating so, so hard. I made the picture using my Berol felt tips.
Mike [Berol felt tips]
Mike at the helm - [berol felt tips]
Mel - a fellow crew member - was such a laugh! She and I spent happy hours chatting on the fore-deck as we rounded the island.
Mel [oil pastels]
'Mel' - crew member for 'sailing the Island' [oil pastel]
My Sister, Jo [oil pastels]
Jo, my sister [oil pastels]
Sally [pen & ink drawing]
Sally [fineliner pen]
Fev [different shades of pencils]
Self portrait [conte/charcoal pencils]
'Rick by Rick' 28.v.07 Self portrait in conte crayon - my birthday (at the Bung). I felt pensive as I came to terms with my diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.
Self-portrait [oil pastels] 2007
Self portrait [pencils]
Self portrait - on the Malverns [charcoal pencils]
Three pictures of Alan M
A.M. [chalk pastels]
Alan - a more abstract view....
Alan - chalk pastel
Alan - always smiling!
A.M. always smiling.... [chalk pastels]
Geoff Boult [Jan 2009] - on Clifton Suspension Bridge the previous year [speed pen & ink drawing]
Geoff Boult - pen and ink.
In 2006 the DADS - the "Dorchester Amblers & Dawdlers Society" - stayed for one of our two residential weekends in the Bristol YHA. Geoff was at the time living in Bristol, and he acted as our guide.
Yet another self portrait.... [oil pastels]
Another self portrait - oil pastels
Anna - first year PPE student [pencils]
Heather - all smiles ["copic" felt-tip pens]
This painting/drawing was made in March 2010 using some new felt-tip pens I found in the local art shop - a rival to the Magic Marker Twin Tip felt tips I had so enjoyed using a couple of years previously, but which had not been the re-fillable pens advertised by the company who manufacture them. These "Copic" felt-tip pens are half the price of the Magic Markers and still have the twin tips. The quality of these pens is very high, and they are also delightfully easy to use, with a very wide colour range.
Leo - in holiday mode.... [pencils/charcoal pencils]
My father, aged 54 [I think], sitting in the grass above Aber Dinas. [Magic Marker pens]
I drew this in 2007, when I was 53, so this picture feels a bit like a 'generational self-portrait'. I was very excited by the medium - magic marker pens which, at about £5 each, I thought were going to be a sound investment, because they were advertised as being re-filllable. They are not! The address in London advertised on the leaflet does not exist anymore. I felt very let down, cheated. As the colours I used most gradually began to fade and streak when applied, I had to cease using what I had supposed would be a medium close to my need. How very disappointing.
There is a postscript: Herrings - the Dorchester art shop, were getting rid of their stock of the wretched felt-tip pens, at a real knock-down price. Trouble is, most of the colours are not ones I'd normally use. I bought the lot, anyway... never know when any of them might come in useful.
Folk who see this often exclain about the likeness to George Bush! Eughhh.... Apart from the looks - and I concede that [in this pose] there is a passing resemblance - there are only huge differences: thick/clever; tongue-tied idiot/ eloquent orator; air-head/profound philosopher; ignoramus/classical scholar; etc..... How on earth did GB become PRESIDENT OF THE US of A?
My father, aged 54, above Aber Dinas. [Magic Marker Pens]
My father - at the age I have just passed.... [pen & ink + wash]
Room for thought: Jonny (my brother-in-law) [two-tone papercut]
Self portrait in blue [oil pastels]
Self portrait [oil pastels] in blue
Richard Hall [acrylic paints] This is the second picture I have painted using acrylic paints - an incredibly easy, forgiving and malleable medium. I cannot think why I have spent a lifetime not using these paints. This portrait is from a photograph of Richard at the Bung, sitting on the sunroom steps, looking thoughtful [as ever....].
Richard Hall sitting on the sitting on the sunroom steps [acrylic paints]
Ian Stuart (i) [oil pastels]
When my daughter Anna worked in Smiths [weekend job whilst in the VIth form] she described how the boredom of a Sunday afternoon was lifted by a visit to the shop of her 'favourite customer'. A few years back I was buying her a hot chocolate in Taste and she pointed out a lone person at another table as being her 'favourite customer'. I went over to invite him to join us, and thus introduced Ian Stuart into my life. He is a sufferer of a condition about which I was entirely ignorant - Cavernous Angioma - and it presented itself [in his case] as vaguely Parkinson's-like. Ian had set up and was running the Cavernoma Alliance UK, the UK sister organisation to that which existed in the US. Cavernoma Alliance UK at that time was a fledgeling support group organisation with few members and no capital. I pledged Ian the idea of a fund-raising festival of music, and that is how "durnoVibe" came into being. By the time we actually ran this festival in October 2009 Cavernoma Alliance UK had grown enormously in terms both of its membership and its funding [through successful funding bids made by Ian] and the purpose was more to raise awareness as to raise money. Ian and I are firm friends and often share a baked potato, a coffee and a chat. He allowed me to do a couple of portraits of him: this one of the smiling Ian, and one I did which in my mind depicted him in relation to his neurolgical condition:
Ian Stuart (ii) [oil pastels]
Peter Oakes [monochrome felt tips]
Peter Oakes - friend and fantastic musician, to whom I am indebted for performing my music [felt tip]
Mike Young [magic markers]
Mike Young - felt tip [Magic Marker pens]
Lisa Young [charcoal pencils]
Lisa Young - charcoal pencil drawing
Rachel Anderson [oil pastels]
Rachel Anderson - oil pastels
Jon Anderson "patrician" [oil pastels]
Jon Anderson - 'patrician' [oil pastels]
My Brother D [pen & ink]
D my brother - pen & ink
Chris Irwin [oil pastels]
Chris Irwin - friend and Friday morning coffee club founding member
Douglas the cat in Leek [sepia drawing 1983]
Douglas my cat 
Sophia & baby Evie [oil pastels]
My Sister-in-law-in-law... Sophia with baby Evie
Helene et Vincent in Rouen [coloured felt tips]
Helene & husband in Rouen
Ludo - the all-powerful
The Ballad of Ludo
Let me introduce myself To ev’ryone and all The name is Ludo Anderson And even tho’ I'm small (not a ‘sausage’ dog you know Say that again and off you go!) No - I'm a canine demagogue And I walk ten feet tall! (OK I hang it low But wow! Just watch me go!) Ain’t nothing but a hound-dog, Four-footed cannonball!
I've got five pets, all human, They’re reasonably well trained.
Frances thinks she's tough - ha!
Jon’s financially over-brained (thinks he's got me under his thumb! How dumb is that? How dumb?)
I pack him off to Barclay's - That keeps his brain well-drained, (so when he wags his finger, shouting “floor”! I don't budge from my comfy armchair no more.
Young Tom’s in an I-tunes world, The girls, though bright, completely scatterbrained....
I rule them all, the leader of the pack, Gentle, fun and kind, No virtues do I lack - But angered, my teeth are snappy in attack! Sheriff Ludo is the local law Lightning snappy on the draw! If it comes to war I fight tooth and paw –
I'm pretty hot on blood and gore!
My human pets have their own pets too: Scatty cats and a pointless bird Or four! In fact there's quite a few....
And sometimes - disrespectfully absurd - My interests are demoted to rank order third!!!
So many hen stories I’ve overheard.
But hey! Your Ludo’s tale has just begun
In Wales, when staying at the Bung: oh Woof! What fun
It was! We were walking on the clifftops in the sun And as usual I felt peckish for a sandwich or a bun. Imagine my surprise and joy when I saw sitting on the grass Will Self himself! A man whose erudite wit and class
I've often seen on TV. So, bold as doggy brass. I thought I'd greet him and his lady as I passed.
Nipping ahead of my lowly pets, I greeted him “ bow-wow” And noticed, entirely incidentally, how
Will and the lady were eating, and seemed to allow
Me to join them! He clearly said “it's yours now”,
Whilst pointing to the egg roll I had taken!
It was better than dog food, tastier even than bacon! The bloke’s generous nature had me really shaken! His tasty egg cress mayonnaise roll so gladly forsaken!
I never could get Frances to understand.
Nor Jon. How one of the great personalities in the land Instantly saw in me the demagogue, modest yet grand. Not just an afterthought, some downtrodden doggy ‘ampersand’!
Mike 'n Sam in Wales [oil pastels]
Sam 'n Mike, pre wedding
Sam 'n Mike [papercut]
Mum [oil pastels]
Mike [magic markers]
Jon Campbell [pastels]
Jon Campbell, one of the 'Boyz' - chalk pastels
Dad [oil pastels]
My Dad in Longsummers garden - oil pastel 
My Mum, from an old photograph [from the 80s maybe?] - conte
My Dad in reflective mood - conte - 2007
Self portrait [conte]
Self portrait - conte 
Carol Milner [drawing/pastels]
One of the most influential and energetic movers behind the complex organising of durnoVibe was Carol Milner, who died on January 15th 2010 after having battled for several years with cancer. I am astonished by the sheer power of Carol, her utter selflessness, her eye for detail, her energy, her generosity, her great empathy and understanding of human nature. Oh and her patience and, above all, her positive frame of mind - even in her state - with an irresistible sense of humour. When she laughed, those around her laughed. She was an utterly splendid woman. I only knew her well in the final half year of her life, having suggested to her that she might like to help set up and organise "durnoVibe". Given her condition I am amazed that she agreed to help - had I known I would never have asked her. But she agreed to help. Before that I had only ever met Carol fleetingly on a few occasions. I had no idea to begin with that she was as ill as she was, and when I stood at her funeral it was in chastened shock as I recalled the diffidence with which she deflected enquiries of her health into concern for your own condition, despite the [now apparent] severity of her plight. She was a very fine person, and will be hugely missed by all who knew her, and that includes me who knew her well only since the summer. I am glad that I was able - just - to proclaim to the enormous collection of folk who crammed into Broadmayne Village Hall for her funeral, my admiration for Carol. My voice might have faltered, but the strength of my message was clear. This is what I said:
"Unlike very many people here I only came to know Carol well in the last six months of her life. I had known her in passing, and I thought it would be a very good thing to invite her to help me run the durnoVibe Festival last October. It quickly became apparent that Carol was somebody with huge enthusiastic energy, an excellent eye for detail, and a selfless dedication to the cause which is why the festival worked so well. With great humility she deflected praise for all she did and instead heaped it upon other people. She was an incredibly positive person and her support was invaluable.
"What I did not know to begin with was that Carol was as ill as she was, and it was only when sitting in my back garden with her back in the late summer, trying out amidst great laughter some weird new concoction I had made using my juicer, that I came to appreciate her extraordinary courage in accepting on a day-to-day basis, without great complaint, a condition as serious as hers. She would brush aside questions about her state of health, enquiring with genuine concern about other people, and I came to respect enormously her dedication to the particular causes that durnoVibe was set to support. Even in the weeks running up to the festival when Carol was undergoing all sorts of treatment, she was full of energy and enthusiasm for this particular purpose.
"Carol certainly never lacked purpose, and her purpose gave her reason to live each day to the full as best she possibly could. We all seek purpose in our brief, transient state, purpose to provide the reason to wake up each day and make the most of everything. I witnessed through my friendship with Carol an inspirational selflessness, and love -- love in all its glory -- freely given. Her love was born out of great empathy, and intuitive and deep understanding of human nature, and for her love was the biggest purpose of all, and for her it was a reason for living each day. I feel humbled in the presence of her memory, very sad at her loss, yet sustained by the experience of having known her. At this time I want to remember her love.
In the words of Dylan Thomas:
'though lovers be lost love shall not; and death shall have no dominion'
And William Blake:
'Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care; but for another gives its ease, and builds a heaven in hell's despair.'