Lost mural of Burslem Riot that was destroyed in a fire

My legacy is my art. I have painted for years. I hope that someone wants them when I’ve gone.

I was involved in painting several murals over my time as an artist, but sadly most of them have been destroyed in one way or another. I painted a mural in the stairwell of the Unemployment action centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent just after I finished college. Then we found the building was going to be demolished. So myself and a friend got permission to go in and take photos. Unfortunately the photographs came back blank. The film had not been attached to the spool and was not exposed!

Then I painted some murals with a council art group. Over a few weeks we worked on a school canteen (alien/ sci-fi landscape) a ward at a hospital (images of Stoke-on-Trent to aid elderly patients memories), and a memorial for the 1914 to 18 war. All of these were demolished.

Finally I did twelve murals at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. This took me the good part of two years on and off. The painting above was a mural I did of the Burslem riot of 1842? I researched it and a lot of the characters were based on local Burlem residents and people who worked at or frequented the Leopard. All of the murals were destroyed in a fire that burnt down the hotel.

I have also painted scenery for the local pantomime and Mystery plays, but I don’t know what has happened to them.

What is the legacy you want to leave behind?

So if this isn’t my legacy what is? All the paintings and artwork I have created over the years since I was a child. Not all of them still exist. Art turns out to be quite ephemeral in some ways. But I’ve sold enough that, if no one wants the ones I still have, the rest have gone to new owners. Even if they were to appear in charity shops, I hope that some do find good homes.

Summer paintings

Poppies everywhere on these two summery paintings. I took them over to Etruria last week so they should be on display at the Etruria Industrial museum today (Friday). The left hand one was based on the wildflowers on display at Trentham Gardens, the one on the right is emulating a tile pattern you would get on the side of a Victorian fireplace. Both were previously displayed at the Arts and Minds gallery at Middleport. It’s good to have a couple of venues to show my work at. I just need then to go to good homes now. X

Wound up

How do you unwind after a demanding day?

You have to relax and unwind sometimes. But it can be difficult. Those that know me will understand that I use art to relax me. I draw or sketch. But the problem is that I can already be too wound up to begin drawing. Sometimes I will try and do some breathing exercises, six breaths in, hold for three, six out, hold for three. I do that for a few minutes to calm my breath. I learnt it from yoga class.

My worst situation for unwinding is when I go to bed. I suffer from various health issues and try various techniques to relax. Breathing, or trying to see a golden healing light when I close my eyes. The imagined light enters your head as you breathe in and descends to your feet, then as you breathe out it travels back up and out of your head. It’s hard to describe, but it sometimes works. Imagination is a good thing, learning to control thoughts. I’m hoping it might help my insomnia, even if it’s only a slight improvement….

Other times I just look at my phone. It’s really bad I know, but I go into my own little world and ignore the rest of it. I switch off my mind to my hubbys voice sometimes. I think its rude of me, but I feel cocooned and detached from worries. Maybe not the best thing to do.

The painting of the governor is an example of my work, where I spent hours painting it, concentrating until my hands and shoulders ached. Mentally unwound, but perhaps physically the opposite!


I asked about ideas and my friend sent me this photo of an abstracted idea of Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire. It features stone block walls, terracotta tiles, blue sea and sky and a few seagulls. It’s only about 4 inches square on a little canvas. I used bright colours and strong lines to make it more graphic. There are strong outlines so it could almost be a jigsaw. It’s hard to find a balance between abstraction and realism. I stylised the smoke and the sparkles on the sea. The windows seem to float above the surface of the stone, and I’ve used white highlights to hold it together. I think it was a success.


A small turquoise and blue painting of two owls I painted a few years ago. I want to do a few more like this, semi realistic but with a bit of quirkiness.

I’ve got a small craft table in June and I need to restock my paintings. I’ll post about the craft fair soon.

I’m asking for suggestions for small paintings, ideas for new pictures? These will be matchbox sized or slightly bigger. I need to do some paintings of bees on flowers. I painted giraffes against sunsets. I might add some metallic paint again.

I just want to get going. But I’m a bit blocked mentally at the moment. I look at me easle and think, tomorrow? But that begins tomorrow again…. Life is strange.

High school?

Describe something you learned in high school.

I did go to Sixth form at school, but it wasn’t a separate high school. I think things have changed in the UK since I was there. I guess different places in the world run their school systems differently and now Sixth form colleges are often stand alone institutions.

We didn’t have computers when I was at school, they were just coming in when I left. So that’s another thing I didn’t learn! There were typing classes (which I didn’t do) and I think the typewriters were pretty old!

So what did I learn? I did A Levels. One of them was Art, and I loved it. I started to learn about subjects like Pop Art and French Impressionism and Surrealism. It was good to actually learn about the history of art as well as finding out about different techniques. I learned about Andy Warhol and Monet, Cezanne and Salvador Dali. I remember pictures of Campbell soup cans, haystacks and melting clocks. I didn’t learn about female artists though, that came later when I went to college. The Art course made me decide I wanted to do an Art degree, and here I am still being an Artist all these years later.

Mural painting.

What job would you do for free?

One of my old murals. I would love to still be doing these and if I had enough money to live on I would volunteer to do things like this for free. Maybe in a children’s ward, or some landscapes for a community centre. I have actually done one or two for free as a volunteer in the past. My first was painting the scenery at my senior school a few decades ago. I wish I’d got photos of it.

My only problem is my health. I can’t move as well as I used to and my balance is not good. I sake a lot so I can’t paint as smooth a line as I did in the past. Age seems to be catching up with me. It’s frustrating because this is the sort of thing I love doing. I get great satisfaction from it. I cannot remember when I didn’t paint or draw. It has been my life when I’ve been able to do it.

Going to a new home

Autumn painting. A woman with a red umbrella walks through a damp and misty forest with leaves scattered around. I worked from a photo someone lent me so I don’t know who’s photo it was. If there is a copyright issue I will delete this post.

I had problems with the body length and the length of the legs, trying to get them and the arms in proportion. I had to play with the colours and shadows to try and get a realistic light on the figure. I also tried to make the trees bluer to send them back into the distance.


Third painting. I used the reference photo less and added leaves on the left hand side that were further towards the centre than was on the original photo. The lady who lent me the photograph told me this was taken at Delamere forest, which I think is in Cheshire.

I tried to emphasise the blues in the background to give it a distant feeling. Then I emphasised the reds and greens to ring them to the fore. The leaf litter was fun to paint trying to shape it and add light shining through the leaves onto the ground. It’s a small acrylic on canvas.