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Sketch n’story


Cutting metal with the angle-grinder, something that doesn’t need to be cut.


Forty-three year old man found in toilet cubicle, refuses to come out, says he’s anxious and he doesn’t want to ‘go back out there’.

I was the first responder. I spoke to him under the door.

Charles (that was his name)

Charles, this is Amy from HR, could you tell me if you’re okay?

I shouldn’t really be in the men’s toilets and certain not on the floor. Memo to self, talk to Heather the cleaning lady.

I can hear a whimper in response, he’s being crying but he still tells me he’s fine. He’s just taking a time out before he proceeds with the rest of his life.

Good response, but not good enough, there are rules around this sort of thing. I tell him this and even give him the index number so he can look it up on the employee intranet site. I even offer to send him a link? Its then he no longer talks, he goes silent on me. I tell him I’m concerned and that I will have to phone the fire brigade if he doesn’t keep talking to me. He keeps talking to me. He says he’s scared. Scared of the future. I tell him he has nothing to be scared off, that his job is secure (well, kind of..After this episode, there are ways and means..). He says that why he’s scared, he doesn’t want to go on like this, that the best years are behind him and he doesn’t know where to go from here. I don’t want to go there with him. To tell the truth I’ve been asking the same questions myself, but Darren from infrastructure is beside me and I’m not going to say that out loud. I just tell him that I understand, glib I know but I do what I can.


I go to Charles’ funeral on my own, I don’t want Tom there, he stays at home and minds Sam. It’s a big big funeral, everyone from work. A couple of people shake my hand, which is embarrassing since we weren’t related or anything. It’s a year since he locked himself in the toilet. He came out eventually and was given stress leave for two weeks. He looked fine, good even when he came back. I invited him to lunch one day, he refused, said he was busy. I knew he wasn’t but I wasn’t going to press and to be honest I was kind of relieved that he didn’t. I had done my bit. But now, standing here, today, just opening the door of my car, raining after the funeral. I’m tired and wet and I remember then something he said when he was in that toilet cubicle.

I’m safe here’

Maybe we should have just left him there. He might still be there now, we would turn a blind eye to his presence, the guys would use the other cubicles, we could have left the heat on at night and I could have passed under the door a couple of slices of pie from the canteen to keep him going in his self-induced solitary confinement. At least he would be still alive. I drive home slowly to Tom and Sam. My front headlight is gone and the rain is oh so heavy. Heavier than I have ever seen.


Drive thru coffee



Sketch everyday from imagination



woman and rooster

I painted that woman seated. She should not have been seated, she would have been better off standing, but it was too late by then, when I realized. I left her seated, with a bird on her lap. Strange. How many women sit for a portrait with a farmyard bird on their laps, not many I tell you, but that was the type she was. Colourful, indistinct and un-delineated, her character, her rough definition on the canvas board. Roughed in, she did want anything more. I would have wanted a child coming in from the side, slightly behind her line of vision, she would turn to look at him. They would converse in some babble of little consequence and she would hand the bird to him, and from that point our conversation would take flight as it were.
‘How old are you woman?’
Forty-six years old last May.
I’m surprised, but I don’t show it. She looks older but it can be hard to tell. She is not unattractive; there is strong country charm present which weaves its own spell. The boy stands mute in the corner, off to the side. I smile at him but there is no bribing him to speak. It is not shyness, there is defiance in his eyes. Even now, he is his own man and when he grows up he will be stubborn. He will insist that he knows all, a jack of all trades. Able to tell all what they should do and how they should do it. Well then, boy, wring the neck of that chicken in your arms. But I will not say those words.
‘Who is he’ I nod in the direction of the boy.
‘My son’ she replies.
‘Son or grandson’ I ask, knowing I’m causing trouble, but what the hell. Let’s shake things up a bit. She ignores my question. She has the size of me, she knows my intentions before I know them myself.
‘Tell me something about yourself, something about your life’
‘My mother died when I was ten’
It was not what I was expecting and I don’t know what to say. I toy with the word ‘sorry’ but the moment passes. I wish she had said something else. I find it hard to concentrate. I tell her this.
She laughs, she now has the upper hand and I don’t care. She begins to ask me questions, where did I buy my jeans? ‘Charity shop’ I say, truthfully. ‘How tall are you?’ ‘How tall do you think I am’? Those are stupid questions that I can’t be bothered replying to, I tell her this and soon there is silence again. I work in this silence. The boy is now asleep under a tree, the bird has wandered off and I feel my own eyes heavy in the mid-day sun.
When the child awakes he fined me gone. The woman will be working, doing her daily chores. He will believe it was all some dream he had and he will be right. Each time he sleeps he dreams even if he can’t remember it and it frustrates him, this life continuing on without him, right under his nose.


Vase + Cat & BlueBird


Art is not about being sensible, in fact its the opposite


Abstract Squares

abstract squares





Perched high on sea shore rocks,
Industrial skies and plaid seas, there is no immortality.
She speaks of her own myth – the mermaid.
There can be no believers here
Still there is existence, and her’s the strangest truth.
She is there, watching silent waters motioning.
That is enough for now. She is alive.


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