Moonlight bright

Moonlight like ice, glinting frost, I wish we had cold weather. Walking round a frosty graveyard looking at ice crystals on bushes and grasses. Little pawprints trailing across the lawn, glittering as a stray moonbeam passes through wilting leaves.

A gravestone sits sideways to all the other ones. Because it’s occupant was said to be the local witch, wise woman, healer, giving remedies that were beyond the wit of man? Perhaps that moon shone down on her once, on her cottage surrounded by herbs, witch hazel, foxgloves, woody nightshade.

Don’t move, just listen, hear the rustle of bat’s in the belfry, feel the crunch of ice under your hand. Its All Hallows Eve. Perhaps this is a dream about Molly Leigh, the Burslem witch.

Riot outside Leopard Hotel…

Still proud of this mural that I painted in the Leopard Hotel in Burslem in about 2006 or 2007. The hotel burnt down earlier this year ans all my murals were destroyed. Someone asked if the murals had been removed from the building? No they were painted directly onto the wall with emulsion paint. These were some of my favourite works and I was devastated when they went up in smoke. The root crowd included local people and staff of the Leopard Hotel plus my hubby. A lady called Margaret Moxom used an image of it for her book. The riot was in 1842 and a man was shit dead during it.

Umbrellas

Memory from 2017 of a mural I painted in 2007. This was at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. I have a strong connection with Burslem from doing a series of murals in the hotel. Who knows whether I will do anymore?

I would love to do a bit more mural painting, or scenery, or large paintings. I’m hoping if I can get my shaking arm under control I might be able to do it.

Memories are a great thing, but also they can be tinged with sadness when you think of all the things you could have done. I do wonder about the pandemic times. Could I have done more to keep my art business going? What things can I do to actually sell my work? I’m not a sales person, I’m an artist…. I don’t think I’ll ever have a USP!

Three counties open

I’m very pleased to say I have had my painting ‘coast’ accepted in the three counties open exhibition in Burslem School of art later this year.

Burslem School of Art is famous for teaching artists their skills in the early twentieth century. I think Clarice Cliff was one of their students. I know the artist Arthur Berry studied there before becoming famous as the potteries ‘Lowry’.

It’s great that a physical exhibition will actually be held this year. I hope many people will be able to come and see it.

Leopardess

Here is a better photo of my mural that was destroyed in a fire at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem earlier in the year. The landlady was said to have come over from the Caribbean and married an English man. She then ran the hotel. The trouble is I painted this in 2006? I honestly can’t remember the story I was told and now the hotel is gone.

Destruction

Today’s #bandofsketchers prompt was destruction. The Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, was destroyed by fire just a few weeks ago. This is a sketch from a photo by Stokie Bloke (I can’t face visiting the Leopard Hotel). Not very accurate. You can see the roof has gone. There were more photos including the room where my murals were. The walls are still standing, but there are just blank ashy grey spaces. So sad.

How the Leopard looked

This was the function room, the Arnold Bennett suite, in the back of the Leopard Hotel with my murals visible on the walls. They were quite high up and I’m only short, so I spent a lot of time climbing up and down ladders! If I had realised it was likely to take me almost two years to paint them (there were eleven? ) seven on one side and four on the other if I remember?

Titles were :

The Leopardess

Umbrellas by Clarice Cliff

Arthur Berry, artist

Walter, the regular

Pot banks and woman worker

Murdered woman

The Leopard coat of arms

The Burslem Riot 1842

Wedgwood and Brindley

Molly Leigh, Burslem witch

Burslem Angel

I cannot remember if there was another one. I’m hoping to collect a full set of images of them. I hope that local people will be able to help me.

Changing spots

When I was painting in the Leopard Hotel I designed a coat of arms for the hotel. The hotels ginger cat lies across the top of a shield with garlands of leaves and berries around it. The shield is split into four sections. From the top left there are crossed knives and forks on a blue ground with a gold chevron. The top right is a portrait of Prince Leopold (not sure where he was from) it was possible that the Leopard could have been named after him. Bottom right are three foaming tankards in gold. And bottom left is a painting of a Leopard. The motto on the banner underneath says ‘The Leopard can change its spots’. The idea behind it was that the pub had just been taken over and the landlords Neil Cox and Neil Crisp wanted to turn it into a friendly place to eat great food and wonderful beer. I think they made a great job of it and for a few years it prospered but the changing face of the town, the empty buildings and then covid finally managed to close it. Sorry for the fuzzy photo.