About 18 months ago I was at my parents house for a family meal get-together. After scoffing a fabulous dinner (who can resist delicious home-cooked Mum food?!), I managed to avoid the usually inevitable post-dinner, full-belly, snooze by raiding the sideboard for family photo albums.
In a world of instant photographic gratification, its sometimes nice to remember the more innocent time of carting around a 'proper' camera and the associated pressures of:
Wondering if the batteries still had enough life in them for the flash
Clicking and hoping you'd managed to get the image in focus
Hoping you hadn't cut someones face out of the frame
Suspecting your finger may have been over the lens
Waiting around a week whilst your negatives were developed (and praying your prints hadn't been branded with a 'quality control' sticker judgment).
My Mum has organised, archived and annotated the photographic prints documenting our family history into albums arranged in chronological order. This enables effective avoidance of any albums involving embarrassing images of yourself! On this occasion I selected an album with a good vintage - the 'Mum and Dad as kids' album.
Within the first few pages of the album I found a great photograph of my Dad walking down a street holding his Dad's hand. I immediately thought it would make an interesting subject for an art work, so used the camera on my phone to take a photograph. The plan was to complete a drawing of the photograph for my Dad's birthday that year.
Sadly time constraints kept me from meeting that particular deadline, and the beginnings of a drawing was left abandoned within a sketchbook in the art studio.
Fast-forward 12 months or so and, whilst wondering what gift I could get my Dad for his birthday this year, I remembered the half-finished drawing. I'm pleased to say that this year I managed to organise and prioritise my time to finish the drawing in time for the big day.
It was wrapped in some rather splendid pirate themed paper awaiting my parents arrival for lunch:
The minute Dad opened the present he instantly knew the exact photograph I'd based the drawing on:
It was taken as he walked to the opticians with his Dad to collect his very first pair of glasses!
Acrylic and ink on watercolour paper
So its worth hanging onto those 'not quite finished' art works. If you wait long enough you might just get the flash of inspiration you need to get them finished, and if you're really lucky they might just prompt a story about your family history.
As I finish typing this post I'm thinking about the whereabouts of the photographic prints I've had developed over the years. I suspect the majority of them are shoddily stacked untidily in piles, stuffed into boxes and drawers. Maybe its time to sort through them to find more drawing and painting inspiration...