Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saturday at the betting shop

The way I see it, and have seen it for some 35 years, is that an artist takes pen, pencil, paper - whatever - and if he or she sees something worth drawing, they draw it. This is art for art's sake, not for the sake of sales or galleries. Most of us can point a camera and take a relatively good photograph, especially in this digital age. But not many can sketch from life. This I have done continually since studying art in the mid-1970s, and on one occasion, we took ourselves to the Tattersalls betting shop in Station Street, East London, probably in the late 1970s.

Being a Saturday, I probably had a bit of a babelaas, but nonetheless managed to do three fairly good drawings of old men studying form ahead of placing bets on the horses. I think this one was particularly successful in capturing the character of the crusty old punter.

Aged people are fascinating to draw - especially when you're young. Today, as the impact of ageing starts to afflict me, I have far greater empathy for the aged. I also admire the resilience, especially, of the few men who manage to reach a ripe old age. For, generally, we seem to be the weaker sex in this regard.

Another old guy at that East London betting shop, makes his selection.

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