Virtual Open Studio #3

When The Artist and I became an item, I was living in a one bedroomed cottage on the outskirts of Plymouth. Although it was only supposed to be a temporary stop-gap, bought in panic when my first marriage ended, I loved that house-for-one. It was cute and quirky and the long, enclosed back garden made up for the lack of space inside.

I lived there alone, for quite a while, nursing my broken heart and coming to terms with the harsh reality of being single again, in my early forties. I’d married at nineteen, given birth to my son eleven months later and my daughter nearly four years after that. Having been a wife and mother for more than twenty years, I was suddenly adrift. But that tiny terraced house helped anchor me, it’s stout stone walls providing sanctuary; a safe place to weep and wail, to heal my hurts, to play my kind of music, to dance and sing. To reclaim my life.

I met The Artist early on, as a friend of a friend – but we lost touch when he went to Art College in Cornwall. It wasn’t until his course had finished and he moved back to Plymouth, that we met up socially, gradually becoming more and more involved. Reluctant to surrender my newly established freedom, I didn’t invite him to move in, until it became impractical for him not to.

It was a tight squeeze. In fact, we looked around for somewhere larger, where we could start afresh. But nothing had the same ‘wow factor’, that made this house so special. So we streamlined our possessions, gave unwanted stuff away and stored our ‘treasures’ in the attic.

By now I’d established a late-blooming career in Social Housing. The Artist was self-employed, working on commission and in community projects, while extending his own portfolio. This suited us – I found my full-time, busy job exciting; he focused on his painting and kept the home fires burning (albeit with fake gas logs!)

I’d bought the previous owner’s furniture and hadn’t changed it. So we decorated; bought a new bed, a sofa and a leather chair, hung Martin’s artwork on the walls – and transformed that heartbreak house into our first home.

And here it is:



The title of this painting is derived from our address. People sniggered when we told them it was ‘Butt Park Road’ – in a modern context, I suppose it is amusing. But the ‘butt park’ didn’t refer to my comfy armchair. In days of yore, every man was required, by law, to practice archery once a week – so that, if needed, they could be called upon to defend the Realm. And Butt Park – the common ground at the bottom of the road – was where the mediaeval locals did this.

Standing across the road at first and at the end of the garden later, The Artist roughed out the images in pencil. Then he came inside and rendered them in pen and ink and watercolour; blending top with bottom, front with rear to capture a complete picture of our quaint old cottage.

Every time I look at it, I laugh. There are so many fine details – the tiled roof, the old net curtains, the milk bottle on the doorstep, washing swaying on the line, (including my big knickers!), the neighbour’s cats. This is not simply a brilliant painting. It’s a perfect reminder of where and how we started out.

We loved living together, in Butt Park Road.

Although this is a retro piece, Martin has digitally super-imposed his logo. Can you spot it!

Last Week’s Answer:
Congratulations to Dragon’s Dreams, who noticed that, in My Old Ironhead the logo was on the end of the foot peg.

* All words and images on this blog site are the intellectual property of the Author and Artist. You are welcome to share them – but please be mindful of your Karma and use them sensitively. Credit us by inserting the link to Tao of Scrumble 🙂


25 thoughts on “Virtual Open Studio #3

    1. Thank you, Susan, everyone who visited thought it was a very special place, with a really unique feel to it. You are right about the logo, this week! 🙂

  1. what a lovely rendering of a precious time in your life and lives! and yep, logo is just above the clothesline. now of course I’m wondering about the significance of his logo and where one might see some of his work.

    1. Thank you, so much, Joss, Martin will be thrilled – it was a very special time, great memories and learning! It’s very difficult to get him to show his art but he has been surprised by the positive reactions to the VOS and is thinking about a starting his own page. You are right about where the logo is – and it is significant, in a couple of ways – you’re the only person to notice! I’ll write a separate post about that, soon.

  2. Thank you for coming over to take a look, Jacqueline – I will pass your compliments on. Because we know where they are in each painting, we think the logos are obvious – but not all of our viewers can find them – well done! 🙂

  3. Good Morning wightrabbit….this time I CAN see the logo.
    LOVE the paintings.
    One question…how on earth did you hang out your washing?
    You must be taller than i imagined. 🙂

  4. Thank you very much, Granny – glad you could find the logo this time. And haven’t I ever mentioned that I’m actually ten feet tall? 😉 (seriously – it was a pulley line, so you could let it down and haul it back up again.)

  5. Okay I had to laugh at the name “Butt Park” but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the picture was quite neat! I like all the little details (as you mention) – the cat struck me first. I find it interesting that the Artist juxtaposed the front and back in the same piece and I like that he used a vertical orientation instead of placing them horizontally, side by side. I think one gets a better sense of the narrower confines that way, considering there are many other vertical elements in it too (the gutter downspout, the poles and of course all the window/door frames). I bet that place DID have charm! The roof, by itself, is enough to suggest a character to it. As illustrations go, it seems this one captured the spirit of the house. I think it would be great if the Artist opened his own page! I bet he would get plenty of followers in no time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you, Corina, for this this brilliant appraisal, for seeing what I see. And for encouraging Martin to put his stuff ‘out there’ – I’ve been trying to get him to start his own blog for ages. Maybe he’ll listen to you LOL! 🙂

  6. Wow, thanks for the feedback! I can see from the way you write you do know a thing or two about artwork – you are right about the vertical orientation, it just was the way to go. What do you do on the Art front? I shall follow your suggestion and get my own page together. Thanks, Martin.

    1. Hehe. My mother is an artist and taught art at the university (Basic Design and 2-D mostly) here in town for 20+ years, so I grew up with art everywhere around me. I draw a little, have done some sculpture/clay-work, play a bit with web design format, but I’m more of a writer than a visual artist. However, I can definitely appreciate and value good art when I see it (the “eye” for it, you know) and you appear to have scads of natural talent! (Don’t get me wrong, I know very well all the hard work that goes into it.) I hope you DO get your on page – if/when, please let me know so that I may follow it. 🙂

  7. It looks like a beautiful little place. How nice that you have this gorgeous picture of it. The logo is up on the right, in blue. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

  8. Thank you, Kathy, my heart lifted every time I came home to it and looking at the picture reminds me of that. You’re right about the position of the logo – he added it later. The last couple of weeks have been ‘interesting’ – I’ve written about some of it on my other blog (http;// But I’m looking forward to life improving from now on! 🙂

  9. sitting here looking at the artist’s veiw…
    he brought the magick alive outside what is felt inside
    seems it is not the butt end, but the crown of the road
    (to me anyway)
    what a beautiful home this is….and I love walking through your memories with you
    takes me somewhere to explore..experience I have never been….
    Thank You ….
    Take Care….

    1. Hi, maryrose! I’ve just found this comment, apologies. _/!\_ Thank you so much for your lovely words of praise – it’s so gratifying when others can see the magic! 🙂

  10. I want a place that can make me feel like that!! Loved your post and as I work late, I’m amazed at how many new words I learn & the meanings behind them while reading writers blogs. Butt Park. This will go down as the most interesting! And now, when I tell my daughter I want a dream house, I’ll say I want a dream home at the end of Butt Park!

    1. Ha ha! I’m a mine of random information! It was a magical resting place and I would still be there, if circumstances hadn’t uprooted me. But I’m happy where I am now – I love this house, too, so it worked out well eventually. Whenever we stray ‘off track’ a little, The Artist and I search for ‘That Butt Park Feeling’ – it keeps us grounded. I trust you find your Butt Park too!:)

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