Such A Creative Daughter (Before WordPress 6)

This is a slightly supplemented copy of my Facebook page of 1st May 2012:

“It’s wonderful to have such a creative daughter!

Becky's facepaint collage

(The above relates to an e-mailed collage Becky sent me earlier. The caption is ‘Quads – separated at birth’ prompted by little Jessica’s face-painting of me)

Today’s perambulation took me along the North side of Morden (not National Trust) Park, which is extended by a sadly derelict former London Education Authority playing fields in which young Asian men were occupying disused tennis courts playing cricket. Then along Lower Morden Lane to the Merton and Sutton Joint cemetery to visit Vivien’s grave, the headstone of which Jackie and I are planning to clean up. It is a strangely sobering situation to see what the elements have done to a stone which has been in place for nearly 50 years………..
then back along the boringly relentless 2 mile long avenue of Blay-built houses that is Hillcross Avenue – a journey relieved by thoughts of ‘la recherche du temps perdu’.

In the evening Jackie and I ate at our favourite Sri Lankan restaurant – the Watch Me in Morden Road.”


In ‘Face Painting’, I featured a fete in Devon that we attended in 1985. Among the photographs published there are some of Sam having his face painted. My favourite series from that day are those of Louisa undergoing the same experience. I had been unable to include them because I had framed the Louisa images in a set that has been lost. Nor could I find the negatives from that event, so I had scanned the remaining prints.

I am happy to say that I have now found the negatives and was able to reproduce Louisa’s courageous effort from those.

Louisa face painting 1985 1

She began with a certain amount of trusting uncertainty.

Louisa face painting 1985 2

Soon, she was getting a bit cross;

Louisa face painting 1985 3

but responded to persuasion

Louisa face painting 1985 4

with stoic patience, until…..

Louisa face painting 1985 5

 Wow!. The mirror bestowed delight.

When working with old negatives or slides, especially those that have strayed from my dedicated storage systems, there is always a risk of blemishes caused by deterioration or damage. This set suffered more than most.

What was required was a considerable amount of retouching. For those not familiar with the process I will briefly describe the editing facility in the iMac. The scanned images are placed in Photos. Clicking on Edit gives various options, one of which is Retouch. This is essential to remove stray spots, faults, and hairs that have blemished the original material.

Using the mouse the icon is placed on the damaged area, positioning a circle the size of  which can be adjusted. Clicking or dragging on the circle transfers pigment pixels from the surrounding areas. I’m sure this isn’t a particularly technical explanation, but hopefully it conveys how painstaking one has to be to

Louisa face painting 1985 3 unretouched

transform this image into the third one above. An enlargement will clarify the problems. This shot has by no means the most blemishes, but it does have some of each. Sometimes I use cropping to save me doing all this. Thus, I could have removed the artist’s hair, but that would have ruined the context.

Even as I was closing what I thought was my final edit, I noticed that I had left, beneath Louisa’s ear in the first picture, a circular white lump larger than the blotchy one in the above original.

This evening we dined on Salmon Fillet & Spinach, and Cod Fillet & Sweet Potato, fishcakes topped with cheddar cheese; chips; and peas. I drank Doom Bar and Jackie drank fruit juice.

Face Painting

RamblersJackie is a little better today, and managed to insert in the softened ground by the new roses labels she had made yesterday.

On another wet, still humid, overcast day I ambled down to Roger’s footpath and back. A pair of intrepid ramblers togged up from the boot of their car and set off ahead of me. I wondered whether they were wearing the Gore Tex featured yesterday.

Even the bees had stayed at home in their hives.

Somehow, St John’s wort sparkled along the back drive.St John's WortI scanned more photographic prints from the 1985 garden fete where Sam ate his apple whilst watching a Punch and Judy show. Because of the amount of retouching required this took much of the day, which it certainly brightened up.

Jessica's cousin and balloons 1985

Jessica’s cousin, the local vet, was in charge of balloons. He seemed to have run out of hands to ensure they did not blow away

Jessica, Louisa, Sam 1985

like the bubbles Jessica, Louisa, and Sam watched.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam 1985 2

Soon the track for the running race was roped across the grass,

Louisa listening to Jessica 1985

and a little boy eavesdropped on Louisa’s coaching session.

Louisa joining race 1985

Her Mum led her to the start line, and

Louisa racing 1985

soon she was off in pursuit

Sam (and Louisa) racing 1985

of her brother and another lad. As a long distance runner, I learned that if you cannot talk you are going too fast. The opposite, of course, is true of sprinting, but no-one seems to have mentioned that to these two boys.

Punch and Judy audience 1985

The Punch and Judy show, as it always would, enraptured all the children;

Girl watching Punch and Judy 1 1985Girl watching Punch and Judy 2 1985

one of whom, as her emotions fluctuated, became excited enough to make her mascara run. The little chap behind her wasn’t exactly happy. Perhaps Mr Punch was becoming violent. The girl was one of a number who had subjected themselves to the art of the beautician before the show:

Boy with painted face 1985

Girl watching Punch and Judy 4

Boy watching Punch and Judy 1 1985Boy watching Punch and Judy 2 1985

Sam’s turn came later:

Sam's face painting 1 1985Sam's face painting 2 1985Sam's face painting 3 1985

Mr Pink provided fish and chips for Jackie and me this evening. I drank the bottle of Hepworth’s Prospect Ale that Ian had given me yesterday. It proved to be the perfect accompaniment.