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As promised, here is another 'Feature Page' showcasing a painting which I believe was a significant step towards the art I am producing today.

I painted Cello just after The Guitar Players. It was another experimental painting, where, I was beginning to combine figurative and abstract elements together. It's painted in oils on canvas and measures 36ins x 30ins / 91cm x 76cm. 

I love the shape of musical instruments like violins, cellos and guitars. I suppose the curves of the instruments and sensual element is an obvious choice when combining it with the female form. There is an obvious optical illusion within the painting, just like The Guitar Players. I love the bold colours, especially the light green shape in the middle which contrasts so well with the bright red. There is an horizon in the distance, which makes you feel like you are looking beyond her through the opening to another place. In each panel are different skies. A friend visiting me a few years ago liked the bottom dark panel. He said it looked like dark atmospheric clouds with a light your eye goes towards. The more I look at it now, whilst I'm writing this text for you, the more I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I put into it. I'm still quite pleased with it.

I used to play the violin. I've always played the guitar, and when I was young I played the clarinet. Anyway, as I said I used to play the violin ( very badly ! ). Think, scratching a blackboard with your nails or torturing a cat, and you'll get the picture ! 

It's a long story, but here goes. After leaving art college in the 70's,( I studied Textile Design at Loughborough College of Art, which is another long story I will explain sometime soon ) I got a job as a postman in Disley in Cheshire. It was a small village then and there were six of us working from the sorting office in the village. We covered quite a huge area - all on foot. One round I did for quite a while was Lyme Park, which incorporated Lyme Hall, a stately home now owned by the National here LYME PARK - National Trust It was a deer park covering 2000 acres. You set off with a bag of mail and basically headed for each farm or cottage you saw in the distance round the estate. Finally arriving at Lyme Hall and then walking across the moors, heading down towards a reservoir and across the dam to the cottages by the side of it and finally back to the sorting office

I used to take my camera with me and photograph the landscape and deer. Lyme Hall was used as the location for a film brought out last year called The Awakening. I got lost once in the mist, it was quite scary. Bowstones, probably the highest point on another round we did was about 1500 feet above sea level, so in winter it got a bit snowy to say the least, but you know, in the 10 years I was there doing the post rounds in Disley, we never failed to deliver the post and Jack, Johnny, Ivan , Phil, Tony and myself battled the elements, wearing snow chains, sometimes through snow drifts 15 feet high to deliver the post. Totally mad !

Back to my story ! Bit like Ronnie Corbett's long-winded stories this ! I also used to do a round called Jacksons Edge. The final part of my round took me across the golf course at Disley, then across the fields and along the Peak Forest canal, calling at farms and cottages on the way. One of my delivery points was Stanley Hall Farm. An elderly lady Mrs Parker lived there.

As I arrived one day, there on the doorstep was a pile of very old, small,green, Countryman magazines, waiting to be chucked in the dustbin. So, I knocked on the door and asked her if I could have them. She said I could and so later on I called back and took them home. What on earth has this got to do with my painting or playing the violin, you are asking ?

Well ! Some years later, just as I was starting my career as an illustrator I thought I quite fancied learning the violin.

Mike Roberts, the cartoonist, click here - Miketoons, who I'd got to know by this time and was using the copyscanner in his studio was having piano lessons with a wonderful lady called Jo Rhodes, who also taught the violin. So he introduced me and I went along for an initial free introductory lesson. As I got chatting, somehow I mentioned the pile of Countryman magazines I'd acquired years back in my former life as a postman and she said she would swap free violin lessons for the magazines. So, for the following year I learnt the violin and have played it badly ever since. It wasn't her fault, she did her best to teach me, but I was useless at it. Cats would run and hide, babies would cry and old people contemplate topping themselves, as I picked the instrument up to play.

Got there in the end !

So, yes I love the shape of violins and cellos and have used their shapes in sketches and paintings over the years.

Here are some preliminary drawings for Cello .

I hope you like Cello - There will be another featured painting soon

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