Virtual Open Studio #13

When I was young, my Gran owned a beach-side cafe in Pembrokeshire. Every summer she ~ and her five daughters ~ served long shifts and slept in the attic room above. As little girls, my cousin, Lynda and I were brought along to this family gathering of women.

We played on the beach ~ paddling and building sand~castles, until the tide began to swirl in. Then we’d run up to the grass~covered roof of a disused kiln, standing beside the cafe. Hiding behind the turreted coping, we’d pop up, giggling at people below.

Like everyone, Lynda and I slept on mattresses, laid out on the attic floor. I remember drifting off to sleep, snuggled up in a patchwork quilt ~ listening to the five sisters naming (and arguing over!) the dress material, from which each patch had been cut.

Happy memories.

Time moved on, I grew up and rarely visited my grandmother ~ who continued opening the cafe, every summer, well into her eighties. She came to see us, though, when the season had ended, at Christmas or Easter-time.

A while ago, The Artist and I traveled through Wales, stopping off wherever we fancied. We spent couple of nights in a campsite, near my grandmother’s old cafe. Although it was boarded up and empty, I felt at peace there.

Later that evening, after exploring the locality and partaking of a couple of beverages, Martin cooked us supper on a burner, as we sat on the sea~wall, overlooking the moonlit beach.

Ah! Happy memories:



Here we have two paintings, with similar focus, both worked in the Rub Back Technique, which uses alkyds and solvents.

In this one Martin has added texture and depth, with Texture Paste, filler and heavy impasto ~ to create a very different effect.

This work is ours so copyright conditions apply 🙂

21 thoughts on “Virtual Open Studio #13

    1. Thank you, Susan! Strangely enough I have been thinking about collating my childhood memories – I don’t have many close family members, who can remember those times and set me right. Maybe turning it into a novel would be a good way forward, as I could let my imagination run free! 🙂

  1. Yes I agree with Susan,there are some great stories in there! I love the first picture, its stunning and like the 3d effect of the second 🙂

    1. Thank you, Gilly, I’ll have to think more about that. The second beach scene is my favourite – you can’t see it here but the painting continues round the sides of the box canvas, gradually fading out. I’ll pass your compliments on! 🙂

  2. what precious memories – then and now. What a talented man The Artist is – such variety of methods and themes. I would love to just sit and watch someone like him work some day.

    1. They are bitter-sweet memories, Joss ~ and I’m only just rediscovering the joy, so that’s one of the many benefits of blogging! Thank you for your wonderful comments ~ it is awesome to watch such amazing artwork appearing through Martin’s talent, skill and imagination. He’s extra-ordinary and I’m one very lucky bunny! 🙂

  3. Good to read the latest. Like the pics and reminded me of my summer hols staying in my uncle’s boarding house on the front at Blackpool. I loved wearing a black dress and white apron and waiting on tables.

  4. What beautiful memories and paintings. Are they considered paintings? Were you able to get pictures of the cafe? Or go rambling about inside?

    1. These are actual paintings, Kathy ~ thank you for your lovely remarks! It was a spur of the moment decision to visit and it did feel a little surreal. So I didn’t go inside or take photos ~ the whole place was in a sorry state. We did climb up onto the roof of the kiln though, and peered through the attic skylight. Martin being thee made it magical! 🙂

  5. What warm and wonderful memories to have and to share — thank you for doing so. The sea is one of my places of respite, although it has been way too long since I’ve had the opportunity to walk the beach in the moonlight or at sunrise.

    Love the paintings — the view is puts me there!! 😀

    1. They are even more wonderful, Becca, because I’d forgotten them and writing about them brought those happy feelings back. It also explains why I, too, am drawn to the sea. Even living on a small Island, I don’t go to the beach enough brrr, too cold! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline! My Gandmother’s life was more amazing than you could ever believe – I might write it down, some day. Here’s to building on those happy memories and storing up new ones! 🙂

  6. Both beautiful pieces, although I’m partial to the textures and perspective in the second one. That’s really neat that your Gran continued to work into her eighties and what wonderful memories for you. Was it strange to be at the old cafe and see it boarded up instead of bustling with customers? Did you feel any old ghosts of the past lingering about? 🙂 I have visited places I knew in childhood that were no longer what they were and it is a very strange feeling…almost a mixture of what is and what was, occupying the same moment in time, as if one is transposed over the other…anyway, thanks so much for sharing both your memories and Martin’s pictures with us! 😀 Truly enjoyed both!

    1. Thank you for your beautiful comments, Corina – the second one is my favourite, too. My Gran was a true character and lived well into her nineties ~ she always said I resembled her, so I’m aiming at being the same! 😉 It was surreal going back, unplanned, so I had no time to pre-conceive an emotional response. I just allowed the feelings to flow through me, recounting random memories, as they occurred. I could clearly imagine the hustle and bustle, the fashions and feel of that era ~ so I didn’t focus on the sorry state of the building. And I was at the start of an exciting new relationship, which made it quite a symbolic time! 🙂

  7. I love the way you shared the beautiful memories with us, and then ended with a camp side dinner and Martin’s paintings.
    Your granny sounds like a remarkable woman.

    1. Thank you, Rosie, it just came to me in that way ~ when we chose the paintings, i had no idea that they would lead down this memory lane. Gran had a fascinating history ~ much of it kept secret from us grandchildren ~ so I have only vague, second~hand information. I’d love to write a story about her but I’d have to make a lot of it up! 🙂

  8. I love your paintings and happy memories… Just what we all need at this time of the year too… beach or ocean memories. 😉

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