Thursday, October 15, 2015


Reading Lucy and Tom's vivid and idiosyncratic impressions of their recent trip to the Netherlands I was motivated to look for some sketches I'd done during a trip to Amsterdam in the 1980s. In the same sketchbook there were also many quick drawings of poets, artists and other talking heads at various events I attended during those years.The ideal ambiance for sketching people is at a conference or concert where speakers/performers stay relatively still for long periods and you can be sitting quietly drawing, unobserved and undisturbed while still being part of the scene.

Amsterdam 1986: it was raining, the hotel was cheap and the mattress had lived, as they say.

Wet raincoat, Amsterdam hotel room.

Of course Van Gogh was on my mind. He shared my room and I angled the mirror so as to echo one of his subjects.


Dick Higgins was one of the speakers at a Bookworks conference I attended in Philadelphia in 1982.

Leon Cych and Peter Baines at the National Poetry Centre, London 1982. Peter Baines (AKA Street Talkin' Pete) was a friend and together with Marilyn, his wife at the time, we went on protest marches, including to the Greenham Common women's peace camp in 1983.
John Rety was a friend but there must be hundreds of people around the world who can claim that privilege, certainly many in my part of North London where he and his partner Susan Johns ran the Torriano Meeting House. Shortly before he died in 2010 I bumped into him (literally) in Camden Town and he said, let's do a comic strip, I'll provide the text, you draw the cartoons. He was like that, as if life was an ongoing conversation with time an irrelevant interruption. I said fine, let's do it. We were going to meet and work it out. Then he died. Everyone in the above sketches is dead, apart from me. And Leon Cych who I drew but never met (I've just Googled him and am glad to see he's alive and doing well).

John Rety and Gilbert Adair at a poetry event in London 1986.


Catalyst said...

WONDERFUL sketches, Natalie.

Vincent said...

If you had a brother named Theo, who had a gallery in Paris, you could simply ship them all of to him you would be free, and have space to grieve after your children had left the parental home.

But as I assume you have no such brother, you still have his proxy, called Web, who will let you keep a gallery on-line. And Paypal will manage the till as soon as the items have been priced. And Posterity, as in Vincent's case, will determine their worth.

And then you may wonder what to do with that empty-nest syndrome. And it will be good.

Tom said...

Delightful sketches. Does it really rain in Amsterdam then? :)

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thank you Bruce, good to know you're here.

Vincent, I do have a brother I love dearly, but not named Theo and without a gallery. Bear in mind that only one painting of Vincent's was sold in his lifetime and that the saintly Theo was only able to provide just enough for his beloved brother to survive and buy paints - bless him for this devotion!

Your idea is great and thank you for it. I should indeed make more effort to point out that some of the work I show on my website or blog is for sale. But ever since I set up my website 12 years ago (even before the blog) I assumed that if anyone was interested in buying my work, they would contact me. This happened a couple of times but only from people who already knew what I do. In my experience the internet doesn't work like a gallery though maybe others have different results. I must admit that, in terms of sales in my lifetime (outside the internet) I've done better than Vincent. But his work is deservedly up there in eternity's pantheon whereas mine, well.....

Anyway, having waffled on, I now will consider the idea of creating a separate page on my site to show work that is for sale, with prices. Thanks!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Tom, no it never rains it pours! But at last you had some bright days as well.

(I stole that line from an Albert Hammond pop song.."No it never rains in Southern California...")

Anonymous said...

First Class promotion for Bill Garnett exhibition and richly deserved!Hope this will really draw in the crowds,from Cardiff and further afield.Well done! Mooz.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dear Mooz, great surprise to see you commenting here! Thank you and see you soon. xx