Tonight we have a very special guest blog post from a fantastic artist, Stephen Bedser. Stephen has kindly written an article about how he became an artist who specialises in heritage scenes. I would strongly recommend you visit www.cornishinc.co.uk to see more of his fantastic works. Stephen can also be found on twitter (click here), Facebook (click here) and has a wordpress blog (click here). Without further ado, please read on!
Many people have asked me how I came to be a watercolour artist painting scenes from the grand old days of steam. After all it’s been 45 years since the last steam service, the ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’, left Liverpool. Well it all started when I was just 8 years old, having just moved from the London suburbs to a quiet and ‘sleepy’ village in Hampshire.
The village in question was Ropley and as wonderful as the village was with it’s winding lanes and endless fields it was what was happening way up on the hill that captured my imagination and sent me off on the road to nostalgia.
It was 1978 and not long after moving my father took me ‘up the hill to see the steamies’ as of course I wasn’t a stranger to the world of steam having been brought up so far on the stories by the Reverend Awdry.
How can I describe that first visit to Ropley Station? Well from memory I can say there was no engine shed, no buildings to describe of at all apart from the station itself which had seen but a few years between service and preservation. The first whiff of steam came from Southern Railway N Class No 31874, the only one in service at the time from what I remember. But it was the giant, to a small boy at least, peaking out of the Polytunnel ‘shed’ that took my breath away. This flimsy covering hid West Country Class No 34026 ‘Bodmin’ during her restoration. The shelter was a far cry from today’s accommodation or indeed that which she had seen service in. It must have had a major impact on me as I can clearly recollect the view in detail even now, enough at least to base a drawing or two on those memories!
From the late 70’s onwards my childhood involved experiences likened to those of 19th and early 20th Century, sounds and smells of a fast fading life, fading that is had it not been for great preservation societies such as the Midhants.
During these years I kept a scrapbook that over the years filled with press clippings, photographs and of course drawings. I drew cutaways, views I saw from day to day and other steam scenes further away. As a professional artist you should try to paint what you love and I wasn’t going to argue with that!
Now, 35 years later, I’m still drawing those steam scenes. Though now I also paint Traction Engines, Cornish Mines and other delightful vintage subjects. No longer can I wander up to Ropley sheds as I now live in Cornwall closer to both the Bodmin & Wenford and Helston Railways. But I still draw experience from the sites and smells of the Watercress Line and try to get back whenever I can for a sketch or two amongst the engines. And right now I’m painting a view of Southern S15 No 506 to help raise funds for it’s restoration which proves, I guess, I’ll never be far away from that whiff of steam and source of inspiration.
For more information and examples of my Heritage paintings visit http://www.cornishinc.co.uk.
Many thanks to Stephen for writing this piece and sharing some of his beautiful paintings. Please do go to his website, it really is full of fantastic paintings! Don’t forget, if you have a story, article or pictures that you would like to publish, you can do it here at Locoyard.com. Please contact Locoyard if you do (click here!)