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As a child one of the things I found great comfort in was drawing; over the years I had developed considerably good artistic skills and had a very sharp eye for perspective. At sea on warships I would often illustrate letters home for shipmates or even design tattoos for them that they would then have done in the Far East. Later in life (after release from the Royal Navy) I would win a National Art Competition in the UK and work as a freelance illustrator for local, regional and national press (for about 15years alongside holding down a full time job) but to put that in context it was in Gibraltar that I honed my skills. Skills which were far easier to hone than those needed to play the guitar.

(Ms.Grace. Watercolour)

I mentioned earlier that Carols passion was dress-making and (after the children were in bed) she would often sit at her sewing machine making frocks for the children or dresses for herself; it was then that I would sit down at the table and draw. During our time in Gibraltar I took part in a few local art exhibitions including one in 1977 celebrating HM Queen Elizabeth 2 Jubilee Year although I don’t think my abstract style was quite what the judges were looking for. On the bright side though taking part in those exhibitions brought me to the attention of people who liked my style and so (amazingly) I did get a couple of commissions including one from the Gibraltar Scouts for a First Day Cover. Although fine pen work wasn’t quite my skill (I did try to get out of it) I somehow managed to produce it and (all these years later) I’m glad I did. It will never go down in history as a masterpiece but (having a love of Gibraltar, art and philately) my copy is very much a treasured possession. 

(First Day Cover Gibraltar Scouts)


Readers will know by now that (although I write this blog nearly every day) I never plan in advance and have no idea what today’s theme will be until I start writing. I suppose the reason I wanted to include a note about my art was that (looking back at the last couple of posts) I seem to have concentrated only on my career and my home life and I didn’t want readers thinking I was totally obsessed with them alone, there was also a bit of Alan in the equation somewhere. In fact art became such an obsession that as I grew older I studied several painters in depth (Van Gogh and Richard Dadd to mention a couple), produced umpteen books and staged three biographical exhibitions until finally in 1995 I was ‘arted-out’ and just stopped. Some of the last paintings I did were of Carol called Ms.Grace (above and below).


(Ms.Grace. Ink and acrylic)


(1995. My daughters at my final Art exhibition ‘Joirneys End’ next to my painting of the month).

It’s an odd thing to say (having already said that I honed my skills in Gibraltar) but since my recent visit to the Rock (2016) I have started sketching again…images of Gibraltar 🙂