Friday, November 19, 2010

Family matters

Married and living in London in 1990, we often took ourselves off to the massive Gunnersbury Park near Acton Town tube station. Here I did a few sketches of the locals - and in retrospect I guess there was a hint of broodiness about both of us.

We weren't to be blessed with a daughter, but I think this sketch of a young girl feeding bread to ducks in the park has a lovely sense of what might have been.

Do they call these jackets "parkas" in the UK? We call them anoraks in SA, and this guy, also among the ducks, has a really interesting, nautical look about him.

So finally, in May 1991, young Luke came into the world, named after the Chapel of St Luke in Hammersmith Hospital, where he was delivered by a West Indian midwife.

These dangly things, attached to door frames, were meant to entertain the infant, who at this stage was barely able to keep the old head upright.

It's hard to do a flattering drawing of an infant, because unless they're asleep they do tend to move around a lot.

I think I got something of the young Lucas's thumb-sucking likeness here at around six months.

And again.

The young mother, Robyn, takes a break from baby, but seems troubled by what she's reading.

Perhaps a rose will cheer her up. One feature of London parks is the wonderful way they change with the seasons. The leaves on the trees turn gold, fall off leaving stark branches, before the new growth of spring. On the ground, covered just months earlier by snow, in early spring the crocuses and daffodils emerge in a splash of colour. By mid-summer the rose gardens are ablaze, along with a variety of other flowers, including seas of poppies.

After moving house within Acton, we ended up closer to Acton Park, which is where this was drawn in the winter. A few years later, the young Luke took a pencil to it, but I was able to erase much of his creativity.

More winter scenes in Acton Park.

Bare trees in Acton Park.

Stepping out.

I know why Van Gogh enjoyed drawing these gnarled oaks in winter. They are so full of texture and bulbous protuberances.

Robyn holds the young Luke aloft. We would shortly pack up and head home to sunny SA, Luke having spent the first seven months of his life in England.

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