Friday, 18 March 2011

Threadneedle disaster at Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea

At the weekend I went to Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea to paint something for the Threadneedle Prize. I was most excited and planned it for weeks. This over planning was the beginning of the as yet unseen problem. In my ferment i had it all done it in my head first before checking the places out. I wanted it all too much.  Like the child that gets too excited about going to a party and ends up being sick 10 minutes after arrival and has to be taken home.

Well i got to Southend-on-Sea at 8.30 am on Sunday and quickly I became a mess. My Mojo completely deserted me and my pencil and paint went on strike. I was left wondering around eating chips and drinking tea out of a plastic cup. Defeated I decided to try Clacton-on-Sea for inspiration. I bet no one has said that before.

I got lost on the way and it took me two hours to get there. Clacton-on-Sea was worse than Clacton-on-Sea. An empty well!

Near the pier there is a Wetherspoons which was packed full of Sunday locals having cheap beer and food. It did not take the smokers outside and their children long to notice me. I occasionally get mistaken for a vagrant when i sit in the street drawing. Well here I don’t think they thought i was a vagrant but I just didn’t look like them. One girl of about 12 shouted “hey! You look like a twat” Her father guffawed with savage approval and her friend continued, a podgy whelp she was “Nice outfit!”. On it went while I was trying to draw. Dozy cider slapped faces idly gazing on, I was the only interesting thing to look at I presume.

I decided to go over to a shop window and draw me (more laughter) if only to see what the fuss was all about. I have not surprisingly a sad face and I do look different from them I suppose. I feel however “twat” was rather harsh.
 Click on the image to see it larger

It started to rain and left with nothing in the bag aside from some sardines I bought in a fish shop near the sea front. On the way back the windscreen wipers packed up and i almost got killed on the A13 at Dagenham.  

My life feels like an Alan Bennett short story. In fact as I read back what I have written I can hear his cosy northern brogue. ‘Ohh what will Mam say?’

To lick my wounds I decided to paint some of my Sardines. Satisfying to do. The trick is to get them looking shiny. Il have another, calmer go at the Threadneedle Prize next week.

Click on the image to see it larger 

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