When presidents of orange hue turn my language blue; to my paint brush I pursue.
Through times of trouble, uncertainty and change in life, I have often found peace, solace and prayer through the brush and pen. From the earliest age I have found joy in sketching and painting and I am blessed to have professional artists in my family heritage. My great-grandfather, Arthur Mansbridge was a prolific illustrator and his son Norman was also an illustrator and drew for national newspapers, children’s comics and the much-loved satirical ‘Punch’ magazine.
I have many happy memories of spending time as a boy with Uncle Norman and Auntie Edna in their wonderfully idyllic rural home, nestled in the Essex countryside. Particularly having the privilege to explore Norman’s studio. It was a revelation to me that somebody was able to dedicate their whole working life to a creative pursuit that gave them and others such joy. I still treasure the letters from Norman and the Christmas cards he created each year for the family with the characteristic sketch of himself resplendent with pipe. I cheekily pointed out that one of his comic cartoon characters had an uncanny resemblance to his headscarved wife and there was a definite glint in his eye when questioned…….
I was fortunate that both Norman and my grandmother encouraged and nurtured my interest in art and sketching and helped me to develop a critical eye.
Throughout my life I have continued to pick up the brush and pen and lately digital pencil to capture moments that stir my soul and freshen my spirit. I thought I would share a few of the things that I have learnt about life from such moments:
When we are truly lost and absorbed in something, that’s when we can truly find ourselves.
Seeing the big picture and having the vision is really important from the beginning, but don’t be afraid that the details don’t make sense, they will come as the picture emerges.
The most terrifying thing is indeed a blank canvass, but that changes immediately after you put the first stroke on the paper.
The mistakes are equally as important as any successes.
The best drawings have a number of strokes to denote the same line.
Only resort to the rubber/eraser when you really have to.
Observe and absorb more than anything else.
Always look for the beauty in things.
I still hear the wise words of my art teacher whenever I am sketching and painting from life or photograph. ‘You should be looking at the subject 80% of the time’.
When I started this blog it gave me the opportunity to regularly pause, reflect and share. As you may have noticed, at times it has been accompanied by sketches capturing my thoughts and feelings in another way. During my time of recovery from surgery and where I find myself now, has reconnected me with my life long love of painting.
Recently, lots of people have encouraged me and suggested that I share my work in capturing the moment, mood and feeling of life’s colours. This has led me to tentatively launch a new Instagram profile called ‘Pocket of Art’ to see where things might go. @pocket_of_art – I hope to see you there. I will also be posting from Facebook and twitter.