This is my latest watercolour painting. In it I have returned to a place which will always have a special place in my heart. Although I had visited the Dale several times previously it was not until 2004 that I really got to know it. It was one of my first plein air sessions with Tony Hogan and some of his students. We set up by Millington Pond and spent a relaxing day in summer sunshine painting the lovely scene before us. It was one of my very first outdoor painting sessions and here's a few memories of that enchanting day:
And here's my painting:
I'm pleased with it and it certainly brings back the day. Merice turned up in the afternoon and took the photos in this blog. She was helping me pack up but when she picked up my jacket my mobile phone fell out of the pocket and ended up in the pond. Back in those days mobile phones were pretty chunky devices so it sank like a stone and has never resurfaced! Could have been a lot worse of course.....I could have dropped it in the pond! Now Millington just doesn't have a Dale and a pond. It also boasts a nature reserve - Millington Woods. Again this is a delightful path to meander through the extensive woods that also feature the traditional art of charcoal burning. So this was another irresistible subject:
'Charlie' is the dog- faithful companion of our dear friend Margaret Hockney. Camera in hand she was forever catching us out with her candid shots to it was nice to get her back so to speak. Yes happy days indeed and many more happy days to come as I look forward to returning to this lovely place many times.
It's Valentine's Day today so here's a romantic little tale guaranteed to warm your heart.
Picture the scene- a storm is raging and a young man is desperately clawing his way through the muddy tracks to get to the ford. He knows the river is rising and this is his last chance to say goodbye to his sweetheart who lives on the other side. He's a poor man with ragged clothes now soaked, but he will not give in and continues on his perilous journey. But why attempt this desperate act - why not wait till the storm has passed? Well this poor lad has become enamoured with the beautiful daughter of a rich farmer. To his amazement she has reciprocated his feelings but there is a barrier in the path of their true love. The girl's father will not give his blessing to a marriage that would link his heiress daughter to a poor beggar wretch with no prospects. Although greatly grieved this is an age when a father's word is final and so the lovers have to agree to a separation. The boy is determined to win her though and knows the only way to succeed is to win fame and fortune for himself and then the reluctant farmer could have no objection. He has signed on with a merchant ship bound from Hull the next day and this is is last chance to assure her of his undying love and promise to return and claim her for his own. But this sudden storm has put his plan in jeopardy and now with beating heart he is scrambling down the treacherous Fimber bank. It's steep sides are a muddy quagmire and he falls many times as he tries to descend. Can he make it? Of course not. By the time he reaches the crumbling banks the river it is already swollen and much too dangerous for him to even make the attempt to cross. Bedraggled and in utter despair he can only gaze across the roaring river knowing he will probably never see her again. He just manages to catch his ship and sails off into the wide blue yonder. It takes many years and he has many adventures but eventually he returns. Now he is a prosperous gentleman of good standing due to his enormous wealth. With trepidation he makes the long journey back to Danby. This time the elements are kinder but his steps are heavy. He easily fords the gentle flow of the river and approaches the farm last seen so many years ago. Imagine his delight when his one true love catches sight of him and runs into his arms. She has waited all these years for him never doubting that he would return. Now her father was happy to bless the marriage of his daughter and the couple could be together at last. To ensure that no other young man would ever have to suffer his torment our hero had this bridge built across the river so it could be crossed whatever the weather.....and that is the romance of Beggar's Bridge.
Professional artist now semi retired and enjoying being eccentric!