Saturday, 7 September 2013

Nostalgia, A Day With The ROI, Streatley Lock

Nostalgia.  I am all for a bit of nostalgia: in life definitely and sometimes in paintings.  In 2 weeks time I will be meeting up with other members of 'Rhine 35', our platoon at Sandhurst.  It will be 50 years since we went there as 18-year-old hopefuls.  Rummaging through my records I found this shot of 6 of us after we had completed the 'Teddy Bear' parachute course - exclusive to Sandhurst cadets and designed to give us a taste of what it would be like to serve in Airborne Forces.  I am top right and Edward Bear himself (the course mascot) is centre stage with his parachute.

Kevin flew Army helicopters; Mike left the Durhams after the Borneo campaign and made millions on the NY stock Exchange; Brian became a successful businessman but died of cancer a few years ago; Rick became a Tankie but then took up flying and still runs his own outfit in the USA; Ian left the Royal Signals to become a specialist in auditing and rescuing failed businesses. I was the only one who ended up as a parachute soldier and I count it a great privilege to have been part of the 'Maroon Machine'. There were 24 of us in the platoon and well over half of us are able to come to the re-union, together with our partners.

ROI.  On 4 September 8 of us met up at the Winsor and Newton HQ for a ROI Friends day: three full ROI members, 2 Associate members and three of us who are 'Friends of the ROI'.  We had a lot of fun but I felt decidedly rusty.  As well as five sessions painting each other (we ran out of time for all 8 of us to 'sit') we had a very interesting - and impressive - tour of the labs from W&N's chief chemist.

I was able to paint four of the others but then had to 'sit' myself, so the following 30-minute sketches are of Tim Benson VPROI, Ian Cryer PROI, Adebanji Alade AROI and Pauline Hazlewood.  The others painting were David Pilgrim ROI, Tony Merrick AROI and Ric Holmes (Wapping Group):

Tim  - 30 mins

Ian - 30 mins

Adebanji - 30 mins

Pauline - 30 mins

Poor Pauline said I made her look like a witch and it's true but 30 minutes is no time at all for major adjustments - you just slap the stuff on and hope that you are seeing things right.  I was tired by then and not concentrating but one has to be honest about failures.  If you want a cracking portrait of Pauline then look no further than 'Camisa a Quadros' - her self-portrait that was selected for the 2008 BP Award show at the National Portrait Gallery: it is superb.

Of these I think my best effort was actually Ian, with his typical Winston Churchill 'we will fight them on the beaches' look.

Streatley.  The following day was light relief.  Mike Worthington and I drove to Streatley to try finding a bit of the Thames worth painting.  After much faffing - absolutely necessary when no previous reconnaissance has been done - we settled on a view of the North side of Streatley Lock:

Streatley Lock 7x10
Contre jour so a little 'bleached out'.

Then after a very pleasant pint of Holt's in the local pub we went round to the South side:

Streatley Lock 10x7 

I wish I had taken the trouble to put some of the visitors in - it looks a bit deserted and in fact was bustling with life. It is a lovely area and now we have had a good look round it will be on our 'hit list'.


  1. Nice work Tim. Streatley lock looks like a decent spot, quite similar to Sonning? I'm sure you'll enjoy the reunion.....amazing to be getting back together after all those years.

  2. Thanks David. Yes, Streatley looks as though it might be good for another trip. Just had a day 'sitting' for Tim Benson - a truly unique experience! Great fun for me but v hard work for him (I am enormous).