Portrait of Annie Steptoe

portrait oil painting
Portrait of Annie Steptoe

 

This is from an old photo of my mother before she married my father. She was christened Annie but her step mother called her Emily. The place is Marlow Buckinghamshire around the year 1948-49.

Big Al and the mystery dock.

 

Big Al
Big Al (Alan Menzies, docker)

I met Big Al at the Kingdom Hall. He asked me to do a painting of himself and his dog. Wow I thought, this is fantastic. Al was aa awesme retired docker and I felt privelledged. This was a study in oil pastel and in some ways was better than the 5 foot panting  I did for him. He kept pressing me to finish his painting and so I couldn’t put much into it.         Hused to drive an old yellow Ford Cortina I think it was. It was not a family car, it was a workers car, one that took him to work every day, a tin can on wheels. Yet it had grown around him like asecond skin and he drove it like he was born in it. Then one day he turned up at my door and said he wanred to take me out somewhere. I had undignosed pernicious aneamia and felt terrible, but there was no refusing Big Al. And where did he take me, the Imperial War Museum! The thing that stood out most among the war machines was an evil bust of Adolph Hitler. Well it was awesome. And now let me get back to bed Al. He was a married man and he was protective of his wife about whom I knew nothing. He liked his painting and put it up on his wall.

study for big al
Study for Big Al

He died a few years ago. And the docks where he worked? They were gone, or they were in transition, they were halfway between one world and the next. God bless you, Big Al.

 

 

 

Cheri, an American in Whitechapel (#1)

 

 

These are oil paintings and oil pastels I made of Cheri. I bumped into her in a bar in Whitechapel and we became friends. She was an American living in Romford Street, Whitechapel, east London. Also an artist, we put up an shared exhibition in her flat and everyone came. She of course had a siamese cat.

She once insisted that I spell her name right. It’s not Sherry, or Cherry but Cheri.

studies of Cherie
Studies of Cheri

 

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