My blArty Story

Pictures from my pArts.

I just posted my 100th blArt, now it’s time for changes. Many of my previous blArts were very wordy. I noticed by experiment that most folk prefer the shorter versions. That is understandable in our busy busy world. Folks have jobs to do and they wish to make the most of their ‘spare’ time so don’t want to be farting about trying to de-cipher the words of this idiot, especially when he plays with the spellings and the meanings and all. So I decided to do my next phase of blogs as mostly images, of which I have made maybe millions, well, thousands then. All still in my possession cos nobody likes me. (He said tongue in cheek, he hopes, ‘Am I Bovvad? Yep’. But I take pleasure from the fact that many people have liked my works in the past 47 years even tho I rarely persuaded anyone to delve deep enough into their pocket or purse to then bear the heavy weight of the coins and transfer them into my greasy palm d’or, not. Nevertheless, staying poor made me strive more.) I cannot be criticised for not trying, my wife says am rather trying anyway.

So, let’s begin, with some early works.

I used to get bored in lessons when I were 15 so I would draw folk. My Engilsh teacher Mr Dobson seemed on first impression an idiot but in fact he were a very clever man what taught me how to write proper.


My dad was a demolition man, couldn’t afford a camera in 1967 so I drew his handy work

  northern demolition

My first drawing from a photo c.1968, Supreme

supreme sketch

I got my first commission from the head barman at the Sparrow Hawk, Burnley. He told me I would paint a horse. I said I couldn’t do horses but he were an’ard case and I knew I had to turn up with the goods or get a broken dose.

first commission

When I were doing ‘A’ level art I painted the local streets form the art room window. Lowry was an influence but I was well into Fauvism too. That’s Hapton in th’background!

byron street

So by the time  I were in th’upper sixth I saw misen as a artist, destined fer the garret no doubt. (There’s absinthe in them pockets)

self portrait as an artist

to be continued

Tribute to David Clayton (77),

a david Clayton

I hope the Burnley Express don’t mind me appropriating this image and the following words:

‘devoted former Burnley headteacher, who inspired generations of young people by encouraging them to go to university during a career spanning decades, died in September 2014’.

I remember those kindly eyes looking at me as a rather distracted 6th former in his history lessons and 12 years later when I paid a visit to him when he became the Head of the combined Boys &Girls Grammar schools just after he had bought some of my work out of my 1981 Burnley ‘retrospective’. I remember him saying to me that I had done well and that to succeed away from the ‘security’ of your home town was quite an achievement. My memory of his gentle determination in the face of challenging pupils was a constant inspiration and example when I became a teacher. There’s not many of my ex-‘teachers’ I would wish to mention in my blart but ‘Stan’ was one who I treasured, partly because he valued me and my ability, wherever that may take me. He was my history teacher at ‘O’ & ‘A’ level and during the latter introduced me to the skill of essay writing, using a pile of source books rather than relying on just one (text) book. Throughout my 2 years in his A level classes he would consistently give me 16 or 17 out of 20 for my homeworks. He famously confronted me one Monday class saying, ‘Peter, you used to be so focused but recently you seem somewhat bemused.’ I didn’t dare say the reason may have been my having played 3 games of 90 minutes in the Lanc’s mud, and visited the working men’s club on Friday, the Mecca on Saturday after doing a job on the turnstiles at Turf Moor in the afternoon and the pub plus Mecca on Sunday. I was bemused by his comment but I was actually asleep during most of his lesson even though he made history interesting.

Mr Clayton, who was born in Horwich, near Bolton where he went to school with Ian McKellan remained a lifelong friend of his even though he was convinced he was better at acting than Ian, he chose the academic route and graduated from Merton College at Oxford with a degree in history. My interest in research and writing and my self belief all started with his encouragement. In 1981 when I had a big exhibition in Burnley Library David came and bought several pieces. Bless his spirit.

Here is the note from my old pal DW in which I heard of Mr Clayton’s death, Duncan begins with a few observations on this blArt:

A breath of fresh air Pete. It is wonderful to see the budding of an artist and what is so different from someone who may doodle and splash paint for a bit at school  is that a committed artist/creator cannot stop, he is driven to keep going and the insanely artistic shape their life around their arting and oeuvreing.

The Byron Street view from the 3rd floor art room at BGS is stirring for me. I have looked that way many times, the melancholy of those slate roof tops just seeps into me, they seemed to me like a world apart from the BGS world of filtered air a preparing station for leaving our roots. Those houses seem to be edging and crowding up to the gates, but not allowed to cross, they knew we were in a transit station being prepared to forsake our terrace houses. I was in two camps, I felt exhilarated at the prospect of learning the skills needed to leave, and yet, when I looked out of that classroom window I felt a warm glow of association to my home, I felt good walking out of the school gates at the end of the day, into the warm embrace of Byron Street.
Dobo was a teacher that you only appreciate fully when you have left school and grown older, he didn’t teach as much as imbue an aura of learning and also showed how to retain ones true and honest persona.

One thought on “My blArty Story”

  1. Interesting new style, Pete. Your tribute to Mr Clayton reminded me of the one or two teachers that really inspired me to want to learn. (Unfortunately none of them was in the art dept.! )There are teachers and people who work in classrooms. the teachers are the treasures we never forget.


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