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This is an old book-plate by Ernest Haslehurst of a public house called The Grapes at Limehouse (once The Bunch of Grapes) that I bought from collectors Vintage Views. It would be fun to think this Taylor Walker & Co pub was the inspiration for Dickens and Fagin’s den in Oliver Twist but it certainly makes me think of the narrow cobbled streets of Victorian London where pickpockets and other nefarious persons would ply their trade. It dates from the 16th century but the frontage is Victorian.

Although the original is in good nick, it has a faded quality even though it has not actually faded, so I added a duplicate layer in Overlay to bring out the colour and detail.

Look closely — I can see Nancy on the balcony, and isn’t that Bill Sikes with his Staffy, Bullseye, coming up the ladder? And surely that’s Fagin himself at the curtain. Could this not, in fact, be the very place from which Sikes hanged himself?

The Grapes does have a connection to Dickens, however, since he knew that area of Limehouse well and probably based The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters in Our Mutual Friend on it.

From the research I’ve done, I learn that the lessees are actor Sir Ian McKellen, director Sean Mathias and Evening Standard owner, Evgeny Lebedev, the trio having bought the pub in 2011; it looks as if it’s a charming place to find some excellent beer and food. Let me know if you visit.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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One from the archives.

First Night Design

Infinity InvitationsInfinity Invitations © Sarah Vernon @ First Night Design [Zazzle]

I’m very fond of watercolours.  Interestingly, I have heard people disparaging them over the years, almost as if they considered the skill required inferior to that of painting in oils or acrylics and thus making any result worthless.  To me, watercolour can often create a picture much more emotional and evocative than one done in another medium.

I suspect that the number of books teaching you How to Paint Watercolours in 4 Easy Lessons, or some such title, add to the myth that watercolour is easy and doesn’t require any talent or skill.  I find it difficult to paint with watercolour but have occasionally turned out something of note.  Believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks!

Now that a disabling condition, which affects my mobility and dexterity, has impacted on my ability to wield a paintbrush, I have…

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I’m very fond of watercolours.  Interestingly, I have heard people disparaging them over the years, almost as if they considered the skill required inferior to that of painting in oils or acrylics and thus making any result worthless.  To me, watercolour can often create a picture much more emotional and evocative than one done in another medium.

I suspect that the number of books teaching you How to Paint Watercolours in 4 Easy Lessons, or some such title, add to the myth that watercolour is easy and doesn’t require any talent or skill.  I find it difficult to paint with watercolour but have occasionally turned out something of note.  Believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks!

Now that a disabling condition, which affects my mobility and dexterity, has impacted on my ability to wield a paintbrush, I have been exploring ways to create the same effect on a computer and I don’t just mean by use of a ‘watercolour’ filter in software such as Photoshop but by playing with layers of photographs and textures, and changing the blend modes as well as softening certain areas with various tools.  It’s a great joy experimenting and that’s how I created Infinity.

If you are interested in learning more about watercolour, whether you are an amateur or professional, I would recommend a book and DVD by the UK artist Jean Haines, Colour and Paint in Water Colour.   A reviewer on Amazon writes: ‘I can honestly say that this book, more than any other I have read (and there have been many), has directly influenced my work and way of thinking. Jean Haines is an Artist whose time is now. She is at the top of her game. You need to study the best. Buy this book.’

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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