I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.
Are we born with it or does it somehow metamorphose into us, changing us from one type of person to another; someone who doesn’t have a clue about art appreciation, to someone who does. A bit like a butterfly being changed from a caterpillar.
In truth, I have never given it much thought, as it has seemed to me that, in some way or another, I always held an appreciation of art in most of its forms. Mostly however in whichever way I could create it with my own hands, whether it was building models, drawing, painting, doing jigsaw puzzles, photography, writing, and cooking – if you can call it art, but it is creative in some way, isn’t it?.
The building of models usually consisted of those plastic things like ships, aircraft, trains, and cars that came in hundreds of bits that needed to be glued together and painted. This was one of my hobbies when I was in my pre-teenage years, but followed me into adulthood. When I was in my late teens I had a mad moment and created what was perhaps one of my best efforts – an entire World War One battlefield complete with trenches, lighting, barbed wire, and soldiers. Using nothing more than a large sheet of hard board, that took up most of the floor space of my bedroom, papier mâché, match sticks, fuse wire [for the barbed wire], and ghastly brown and green paint to cover it all. From memory it took a few months to build and I wish now I had taken a photograph of it. Of course, it wasn’t to remain on the floor for too long after completion as it was becoming near impossible to move freely around the room. Getting to my bed was a challenge in itself. So one day it was there and then, in a blink of an eye, it was utterly destroyed and committed to the rubbish bin.
The last model I ever built was in 2001. It was the German U-boat U47. At the time I was still researching and writing my non-fiction history book Smithy’s War; more of that later.
The model had a cut-away section along the entire port side revealing the interior complete with batteries, engines, torpedoes, and crew. Each component was painstakingly painted using a magnifying glass and powerful desk lamp so I could see what I was doing. The model stayed with me until 2016 when I departed Australia for Europe, I left it behind as I believed it wouldn’t survive the journey.
Drawing and painting seemed to come naturally, although I must admit trying to draw people, unless it’s a matchstick person, was, and still remains far too difficult for me to reproduce. I much prefer to keep it simple by limiting myself to seascapes or landscapes, with an occasional animal slipping into the frame, or like the following one-off of a snow goose:
It’s a shame that I never made a record of when I created my artwork, but most of it was drawn or painted between the 1960s and 1970s. The last of these was in 1977:
By the time the 1980s came along I started to take more photographs and the oil paints were forgotten to dry up in a drawer somewhere. Photography was to become a passion that I still hold dear today, even though my camera has been reduced to a pocket-sized one. I keep promising myself to purchase something of better quality, but as yet I never have. Perhaps Santa will be kind to me one day.
Although I had been writing poetry and short stories during my teenage years, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that I began to dabble in more serious writing. Having left the UK in the latter part of 1988 and immigrating to Australia, the change of environment seemed, in some unseen way, to inspire my muse.
The books were kick-started when I wrote my first fiction crime novel entitled “Out of the Darkness”, however, at the time I didn’t think it very good so it got filed away for another day. But I wasn’t to give up so easily, and I moved on to write my first adventure with romantic elements fiction novel set in England and New South Wales during the early 19th Century. Although initially completed in 1994 it wasn’t self-published until 2012 on Smashwords. The book is entitled “Beneath Southern Stars”. It is also the first time that I used the pen name, Louise Roberts. From that moment she became the writer of all my historical romance stories.
At about the same time, a friend gave me to read the diary of one of his uncles [deceased] who had been a communications officer aboard an oil tanker during World War Two. It was a fabulous read: interesting, informative, frightening at times, but highly amusing. I told my friend he should try and get it published, to which he said ‘as I was an author perhaps I could make it into something publishable’. I took it as a challenge. It would be a project that would take ten years to complete. The research alone was staggering – I’d never read so much in my life, but the experience was without a doubt the best thing I had embarked upon. The immense knowledge I had acquired from it all was priceless. “Smithy’s War” was to be self-published in a paperback version [extremely limited edition] in 2005. It wouldn’t be until 2012 when I self-published it as an e-book on Smashwords.
Since 2012 several more books were to be published, until the very last one, which ironically was my very first, “Out of the Darkness” was released both in paper and digital formats in the early part of 2018.
The following are all my books to date:
I asked at the commencement of this blog, where does all this creativity come from? Is it from the mind, the heart, or the soul?
It is a question which probably cannot be answered. But recently I have begun to believe that possibly it is, in fact, from the heart.
I’m saying this because, since April of this year , I have been unable to write any more stories. The ideas are there – I can see them in my minds’ eye, but trying to put the words down on paper has become an impossible quest. I think the reason for this must be linked to the heart operation that was carried out in March. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but since after the surgeon zapped my heart’s interior with his laser my story-telling has dried up.
For the past few months I have been occupying my time with reading, completing crosswords, going for walks and taking photographs, watching TV and playing computer games. That is until a couple of weeks ago when I had a sudden urge to start painting again.
I had a look through some of the photos I had taken around my new location, Golfe-Juan in the south of France, and finding one that I took in 2016, tried to replicate it in oils:
I didn’t think it was too bad a creation, especially when the last time I handled a brush and oil paints was over 40 years ago. And, I hasten to add, it won’t be the last… I already have another subject in mind to consign to canvas, but I shall be waiting until after Christmas to make a start on it.
All in all, it looks like I have gone, more or less, full circle. I hope however that there will come a time when I shall find my muse again to enable me to complete the writing projects that are still on my ‘to-do’ list.
RLB – Tomewriter