Received this most cheering email this week from Nichaolas Earley a voice from the past when I was first selling my work in my first studio up forty odd steps of the stairs at Crispin Hall in Street
“I came across this lovely watercolour of yours during a recent house move and wondered if you remember it ?
The painting has been in storage for the past 34 years and sadly has never been framed. It has suffered a little in storage but the colours still appear bright and vibrant.
I purchased it in September 1984 with part of my Student grant for the princely sum of £32.00.
Your workshop at the time was on the top floor of Crispin Hall in Street and I seem to recall that you had not long been there at the time of my purchase. In later years I always made a point of looking in to see what you had been painting when visiting Street , followed by coffee and a big slab of cake in the cafe .”
And just to remind me of what princly sums my work went for then Nicholas also sent a copy of his receipt for the deposit. To be fair it is a very minimal sketch unlike my later highly detailed work but obviously Nicholas has an eye for quality and and I am greatly flattered to think that he chose to spend his student grant on a work of art rather than drink it away in some Student’s Union bar or other hostelry.
This is such an early one that though the picture is signed Cooper I still signed the receipt Yates. Yates being my actual name, when I first illustrated and wrote childrens books there was already a Michael Yates in the busines so I chose to work under the name of Cooper, my grandmothers maiden name.
I well remember doing this picture which is taken beside the road to Meare just on the edge of Glastonbury and also remember that one day I was showing some keen would be waterolourists that one does not have to go far to find a subject and that at that spot I could look in three different directions and see a possible picture.
Nicholas has since emailed again to assure me that the picture may now be framed at long last to remind him of his days as a student and cycling round Somerset
“Visiting your studio from time to time was a rare treat for me . I’d often cycle out from South Petherton to Glastonbury to sketch the Abbey and stop in at Crispin Hall on the way back . If I was lucky I’d also find an interesting book or CD downstairs . Your work was very inspirational and I often used watercolour in my Architectural presentations to good effect .I have made a promise to myself to finally get your painting framed and hung so that I can finally enjoy seeing it after all these years.”
Thank you Nicholas for cheering up an aging artist, an old artist who can recall a painting done 34 years ago but has trouble remembering a shopping list of three items for more than ten minutes.