Stan and Ollie
Five minute impression
Last night John and I went to see the movie " Stan and Ollie", which tells the story of Laurel and Hardy, legends in the world of comedy.
All day today I have heard the tune they danced to in my mind, and I have smiled every single time. But it wasn't the movie that touched my heart so much as the memories it brought flooding back of my father. My Dad worked so hard, like many, to feed his family and make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. Ours was not a grand house but it was spotlessly clean and my stepmother was so proud of it. She had come from a family of thirteen who were mainly male and all miners. Times were hard and there was so little to laugh at back then but laugh they did.
Dad used to love watching this pair of comedians. He would sit laughing until tears rolled down his face. In fact at times I thought he was about to have a heart attack, so strong was his laughter and his holding of his sides as he did so. I remember not understanding the humour as I didn't " get it". I honestly didn't at the time. But this week I was fascinated by the idea of learning about the men who made so many people laugh out loud. Which led to us as a couple to be sat in the movies watching the film last night.
I found the film very slow in places. I felt sorry for how these wonderful men were treated at times. But I watched and found myself holding back tears at the very end of the film. It was so moving. The friendship, strong sense of companionship, compassion, understanding and road these men travelled throughout their career was touching. And it makes you wonder, how many people did they make laugh in their life times? During times when people desperately needed to laugh.
I " 'get it" now. Completely.
And if my Dad is looking down I would love him to know I do.
I found myself grabbing a small scrap of paper this afternoon as I closed my studio painting session. I mixed a few skin tones very hastily using Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre to begin and started to place two face shapes in blocks of colour on paper. When I create faces in watercolour in this way with no preliminary pencil sketch it really is a situation where a face appears or it doesn't. Its' almost a spiritual experience and I wasn't surprised when Ollie started to make an early appearance. Laurel seemed to like him taking over until his own smile appeared.
Side by side this incredible pair led an interesting life. I hope they knew how much they were loved and how much joy they brought into the world. My early stages of their faces I didn't capture on camera as I only had my Ipad to hand. These last few stages show how the painting of Laurel and Hardy is forming. I like the stage below best of all.They are almost there but not quite.
I couldn't resist sharing.
This ones for you Dad, you'd have loved the film!
Stan and Ollie first wash,
Essence of a duo.