A heavy metaler’s Mum?


This is the back of this little watercolour.

I had to look up Barmouth. It is situated on the west coast of north Wales lying between a mountain range and the sea. It looks like a lovely old town with a beach, a harbour and the “spectacular Barmouth bridge”. The estuary is the Mawddach estuary which Wordsworth referred to as the “sublime estuary”. I tried to find a photograph that would match the painting but alas I could not. Here is one anyway:


As to Ollie Catley, the only one I can find is the mother of Bob Catley, lead singer of the heavy metal band Magnum. Sadly Ollie has passed away and I have tried to contact Bob through the Magnum website but no luck so far. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to reunite him with the painting if indeed it was done by his Mum? Watch this space.


I have just heard from someone called Annie at www.magnumonline.co.uk who tells me the artist Ollie Catley is most likely Bob’s mum as she loved painting. I have asked her to ask Bob if he would like to give a home to this one. Further update pending.
Further Update
Annie doesn’t think she can ask Bob at the moment and told me to keep it and enjoy it. I don’t think she looked at this website or understood what I was trying to do. Never mind, I will try and find it a good home when we have our next sale. I have to admit, I got quite excited for a moment and thought I had found the painting’s true home, ah well…..


Tie a yellow ribbon….

…round the old oak tree, or so the song goes. It was made a hit by Dawn back in 1973 and ever since I saw the title of the next picture I couldn’t stop singing it and it’s driving me nuts! I thought I might clear my head by looking into the history of the yellow ribbon and came up with a few interesting facts.

Apparently the Puritans used to wear yellow ribbons or sashes and they may have taken the idea to America back in the 1600s. Then a yellow ribbon worn around the neck of a woman during the American Civil War indicated that she was waiting for a particular soldier to come back. After the hit song, and on the occasion of the American hostage crisis in Iran during 1981, the idea of wearing and displaying yellow ribbons really came to the fore in the US. It is now a very popular, and accepted way, of thinking about those who have gone to war or are lost or kept hostage.

But, once again I digress. Here is the picture that brought all this on:


This dear little picture (3″x5″) is called, yes you guessed, “The Old Oak Tree”. The signature is, I think, P G Watts. It is made using a total of about 9 leaves and perhaps the oak tree is a flower from a tree. They have been fixed on to a piece of white material to make a lovely, little, countryside scene. It is in a very nice frame and cost £1.99.

Rules are made to be broken

We, at the Charity Shop Art Appreciation Society, have a few rules when it comes to collecting and re-homing original art. Firstly, we must find original art and it should not cost more than £5 (except in special circumstances – see entry for 20th June “Who is K. Hoskin?”). Another rule is that price stickers must be left on so we can be seen not to be making a profit when we re-home art. The fourth rule is that the picture must be sold as it was bought, i.e. not cleaned up in any way.

I have just broken the fourth rule.

The glass on this particular work of art was so dirty I was compelled to clean it for the sake of the photograph. Lo and behold! Beneath the dirt encrusted glass was a beautifully bright and attractive original print. It is of a Bird of Paradise flower and was made, and signed by Colin Form. It is numbered 7/20 and cost £2.95. I love it.


But is it an ‘ism’?

Encaustic painting (aka hot wax painting) involves heating beeswax, adding coloured pigments and then manipulating with heated, metal tools. The technique was first used In Egypt around 100-300AD and in the 6th to 8th centuries in icons in the Sinai. Here is an icon from St. Catherine’s Monastery , Mount Sinai.

In the 20th century the technique was used by Pablo Rivera and Jasper Johns amongst others. It has gradually become more popular and there is a lot about it on line including many videos on You Tube showing how to use it. I even discovered that the 7th international Encaustic Conference recently took place in Cape Cod In the US.

This encaustic painting was found in a local charity shop and cost me £2.95.

There are 2 stickers on the back: one explaining the technique and the other giving the artist’s name as Bob Lawrence together with the website address http://www.artwithwax.com. However this site just forwards you to other waxing sites (leg waxing, car waxing, etc.) and says at the bottom that the domain name is for sale!


I have not been able to find out anything about Bob Lawrence but I do rather like this work of art – I find it quite atmospheric. It is well framed too and a snip at £2.95.

But as to my original question, you tell me!

Jolly Boating Weather!


This was one that failed to sell when we were in Bath and I don’t know why at a mere £2.50. It is painted by M. Prowse who put an original asking price of £8 on the back ( a definite under-valuation to my mind). I think it is a watercolour although guache may have been used which is similar but more opaque.

There is a label on the back giving the address of the framers in Didcot, Oxfordshire which makes me think that it is a scene along the Thames somewhere possibly in Oxford itself. I found an M. Prowse living in Oxford, could it be one and the same?

Meanwhile there are lots of Prowses living in the West Country and, just out of interest, did you know that DAVE Prowse played Darth Vader in the 3 original Star Wars films? Apparently he was going to be unmasked in the 3rd film but George Lucas decided to use someone else for that scene. What an insult! Poor Dave probably never got over that.

I am reliably informed that Dave Prowse was the Green Cross Man too but I think I have digressed too far!

It’s all Greek to me!

I found this original oil painting in a local charity shop.


There is a signature but I can’t read it. It cost £2.99.

I think it is a view of the Greek island of Santorini and I have a feeling that whoever painted it makes a living from churning out these works of art for tourists. Having said that, it is a really attractive, bright, well framed painting. It almost shimmers with the heat and the emptiness of the hottest part of the day.

Was it a souvenir of a wonderful holiday? Why has it been discarded? Did whoever bought it get tired of it? How could they? I wonder.

A charming bedroom scene

This is a charming, little water colour found locally for £2.99. It was painted by Terry Jackson and titled ‘Bedroom window’. Terry put this up for sale once upon a time at the asking price of £36.50. I wonder if he or she sold it and to whom. Terry signs him or herself as T.A. Jackson and puts his or her address as Beech Close in Watlington, Oxfordshire.

There is an Australian wildlife artist called Terry Jackson but I don’t think it is her.

Anyway, it is a lovely painting and would grace anyone’s wall, don’t you agree?