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
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.
My wife is from East Ayrshire in Scotland so when we are visiting we often visit Largs seafront, visit the Viking Museum, go on the ferry, eat fish and chips followed by a round of ice cream. The scene itself is from Aitken St, Largs, North Ayrshire, Scotland.
Original A4 painting watercolour, posca markers and fountain pen
If I don’t draw and paint every day I don’t know when I will. I started trying to teach myself to draw and paint properly in 2011, but it was a side project to help fill the walls of my pottery studio. And over 2011 and 2012 I would fill quite a few sketchbooks, especially at the start of 2012, when we had another had our second child due, but my eldest was at preschool, so when we went out together I would take a sketchbook and practice and practice from life.
My youngest was born in the summer of 2012 and I decided to professionalize my teaching skills, I had been teaching ceramics and that was the main earner but I wanted to get better at teaching. So I applied for a teaching qualification and got into the program and despite the fact I was teaching art at a sixth form I rarely picked up a brush, pen or pencil.
In fact between caring for my young family, and doing teaching prep and assignments for my university course, I was working in placement four days a week, and on the fifth day, I was at University in classes. I forgot how much I enjoyed it over that year and didn’t really pick up on drawing much at all till I had finished my Master’s degree which was a completely different course.
By this time it was 2016 and four years had escaped me, and I knew I was probably going to have to find work so ceramics was out of the way of finding the calming influence of the flow state, where you forget everything else apart from what is in your hands with a narrow focus and the world is blinkered without care.
As a teenager, my dream had been to be an artist and create spaceships for Lucas film and with my pottery, I was also looking at doing sgraffito through layers of slip on my pottery and loved drawing boats and bins, so threw myself into practising those days by day.
I quickly found my pace and I got up at 5 am every day so I would have some alone time without the children to paint. I also found a day job working in a school so then I was term time and school time so then I was around with my children and I did that until getting furloughed in early 2020 and then never went back after my furlough ended.
I also really enjoy drawing and painting every day it is the highlight, of my day. For me the drawing is the more challenging stage, laying down watercolour I can reach the flow state where you forget everything around you, and honestly it is so relaxing.
I honestly wish that all I had to do day by day was to paint, just relaxed not worry about everything that needs to be done from marketing to trying to sell all the work I am producing on a day-by-day basis. Eventually, I will find a way to be prolific and sell enough to remove the stress of selling.
Another reason I draw every day is because it helps me improve, I am always trying to push what I can draw, the quality of the marks that I make, and most importantly whether I focus on ceramics or painting it helps improve my fine motor skills which because I am very dyspraxic and clumsy by nature, and had Occupational Therapy as a teenager where I worked on my gross motor skills and learnt to finally catch by sitting on a chair and through a can of deodorant hundreds of times till I could throw it and catch it without landing on my head.
There was also a void without painting in my life and I don’t want that void back again. I always felt like I was missing something, which is why I am currently working on a secret project, make sure you are on the mailing list to be one of the first to here about the project when it gets launched soon!
This block still feels so familiar to me despite being gone for a number of years, and I still consider Beatties being behind there and that has long since gone and I think was even a Toymaster at some point. My internal map of Blackpool is so weird and is mix of present and the 90s and a lot from the 90s just isn’t there any more like Electronics Boutique inside the Houndshill.