In the late 1950s, when I was around ten years old, I spent a number of school summer holidays staying with the McPherson family who lived on the fringes of Knighton Woods near Buckhurst Hill in Essex. On these visits I spent many a long summer day exploring the woods with ‘Jimmy’ their son. These were halcyon, ‘Just William’, days and we spent many a good time around the ponds gathering newts and tadpoles or crawling through the undergrowth like two characters from a scene in Robin Hood.
On several occasions I remember coming across the figure of an archetypal artist - like the one Alfred Bestal drew in the Rupert annuals. We often saw him in his fedora hat, sitting mixing oil colours on his palette, working at a canvas which he had propped on his portable wooden easel.
As a budding ‘young’ artist I befriended him and often sat beside him admiring his progress while he patiently gave me tips and advice about how to paint.
I have often wondered who he was. Now that I am retired from my role as a university [yes] art and design lecturer I am trying to solve the mystery - does anyone remember him and his impressionistic paintings of the trees and ponds in Knighton Woods?
Can anyone put a name to this character?
A memory shared byon Aug 14th, 2010.
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