I was born soon after the Second World War and grew up in a houseboat on the Hamble River; a bus ride from Southampton city centre and a short boat trip to the docks. I had no sense of town and country and observed the comings and goings of the river from my dad’s boat building yard and workshop. It was not not idyllic; we had no real attachment; we made a life and survived as best we could.
I have now returned to a simpler life not on the south coast but in Reading; again no ‘landscape’ although 50 years down the line it is not unlike the muddy riverside I remember. In this part of the Thames Valley, by the Kennet and Avon canals, the railways, motorway, inner distribution road that carved the town in half, mixed housing, homelessness, disused gas works, bridges hither and thither there is a fragility and a true sense of people getting by if not only just.
Nonetheless, I still hoped that the artist in me would find beauty and romance ... a foolish idea that didn’t help my mood or mental health.
So, now understanding that it is OK to enjoy the less glorious like the weeds that grow out of the gas works ... or this teasel that has found its way into my back yard I rejoice.
Nelabligh aka Helen Westhrop
... recently retired with time and a wealth of experience; but like a herd of cats, my thoughts and subsequent works of art seem to go in different directions. I will use this blog to record the provenance and the origin of my ideas, while adding colour and texture to finished pieces and work in progress...