A short walk from my old day job is Cleveleys Cove Cafe, perched right above the sea, the architecture is quite unusual for a local building. At the start of May though it closed for a time as a film crew descended on Cleveleys and dressed the Cafe and the promenade into something from another world.
I am a massive star wars fan and unfortunately due to back pain I didn’t make it down to look at the set in person but I did see plenty of photographs and footage. And I can’t wait for it to be released on Disney+ at some point in the distant future.
I have been drawing now for self improvement for the last decade and a half. I dabbled with drawing as a teenager, as most do. I even dreamed of working on Star Wars up at Lucas Film. The only issue was I was put off by the very formal way of learning at High School, for example this happened in art class:
“this week we are doing cubism… No Joseph you are doing cubism wrong!” ~My Art Teacher
So that was the end of that, I went off to college I did sciences and mathematics and nothing creative in sight. I did well at College and got into a top university, studied hard but kept feeling unfulfilled. I was bored out of my mind so one day when I was supposed to be heading to the lab, I packed a bag with my essentials, got on a train and left that town and travelled back to my home town.
A personal favourite of mine that I have painted in 2021, I just loved the colours and the shapes of all the buildings and how they work together. Especially with the clouds they help pull it all together drawing you back towards the Oyster Bar.
A4 painting, done in my signature style with watercolour, ink and Posca markers
Robert’s Oyster Bar is in Central Blackpool near the Tower and the North Pier overlooking the promenade and the sea front.
Just don’t venture too far from cover with food or the seagulls will make sure that they get their fair share of your food.
I love blackcurrants and for the past 14 years or so I have had blackcurrant bushes in my garden where ever I have lived. Even here in Fleetwood where we have a yard, I still have a small patch of earth that has a blackcurrant bush in it. All my blackcurrant bushes actually come from the bushes used to make Ribena, as years ago they did a give away, if you sent them labels off their bottles they would send cuttings. So I did and they did, and each time i moved I took cuttings off those plants and took them with me.
Even my grandad has blackcurrant bushes in his garden which were cuttings of my plants, especially when we moved house the last time from having a garden and not being able to produce the same volume as my grandad said they were the best tasting blackcurrants he had tasted we wanted to make sure he had some.
Original A5 acrylic painting on black card
Blackcurrants are my favourite
I love the semi transparent nature of the jelly casting colour in the shadow
Fleetwood Market Days can get quite busy, though not as busy as they were in the days of the ferries where lorries and coaches would compete for space on dock street. During the Covid 19 Pandemic it has felt very empty in the town at times.
It’s a cold wet Friday Bank Holiday in June, it is also the middle of half term for my children. A few years ago and it would have been my half term too. I would have had four weeks left till summer which was mainly spent cleaning the classrooms and workshops in the school I worked at so if there were visitors over the summer then the spaces would be tidy and safe.
I did that job for many years, there was a time and a season for everything. First term in the September was spent preparing all the projects and materials for the first three years of the high school, whilst they settled into the theory. The second term was a hectic one of ordering materials for GCSE and A-levels, helping them with their projects, it was all hands on deck and I ended up working a lot of Saturday mornings too to help them get through all the practical elements of their course. The Third term was exam prep for the A-levels and GCSEs so I had some support in the first three years of the high schools ages but with all the course work being finished my hectic schedule died down to getting everything neat and tidy.
But what does this have to do with art you may ask. Well I find working easier when I have the house alone, especially as it means I’m not always having to monitor my youngest who is type 1 diabetic but it means I can crank up the music, immerse myself in the noise and paint.
But once the painting is finished , there is a flow of things, photography, editing in Photoshop, writing copy, copy and more copy and then sharing everything on social media and uploading it here to the website. I dreamt for years that I could get someone to do it for me, to get my work out into the world, as I am a quiet sort and don’t really enjoy drawing attention to myself.
What I mean to say is that I think I need to create a time and a season for marketing, for actually getting my work out into the world. To get more people seeing my work, as if they don’t see it they can’t know it exists, they can’t buy it.
On this rainy day all I the thoughts I can think is that my old way of trying to just use social media isn’t working out for me, I need to switch it up, I’m not doing this for fame or fortune, I am doing it as I enjoy it and each painting that I sell allows me to keep making, as painting can be expensive from frames, to paints and canvas, it all adds up. And the more I sell the more I can get my head down and just keep painting and drawing.
So yes, if you are reading this please consider buying something from the shop, even if it is just a print.
My last print that I made for Trinity Hospice is customised by hand, and what most people don’t realise is that I do them to order, so I have a draw full of prints that I have signed and put the title on and numbered them. And then they sit in that draw until I need them. I then grab a print and alter it when they are sold. I have a few ideas for my next print, and have ideas on how to improve the experience for customers too.
The next batch will be printed on different paper and will probably be Fleetwood Ferry, although I have some ideas for tea cups, and I will be looking for volunteers to try the new process out on in the future. Watch this space!