I grew to know and like Karl during his Oakridge stays. He came up from Cape Cornwall to do blocks of visiting at Cheltenham and the West of England. Visiting paid around ninety a day at that time, and that could keep an artist afloat. Sea fare was deposited in the kitchen on arrival, dived for the same morning, and then the bathroom cabinet was checked for any new prescribed arrivals. He was a charismatic man, hugely entertaining, Cornish tanned and decked out in sun faded denim, a regular lady magnet. When larger blocks of teaching came up, Karl got the use of a lakeside cottage set in woodland near Cheltenham. We had a magic night there, Karl produced copious amounts of home brewed saki and a bucketful of bouillabaisse, suitably oiled we gravitated upstairs to view work in progress. Karl enjoyed talking about his work gauging responses, gathering reactions, the principal work reviewed that evening was a large tryptich, very much in Karl's sombre colour range and broad application, brilliant. I never saw this ambitious work again, it may well have been broken down into it's component parts.
A short time after the relationship began, Karl, not one to let the grass grow, roped me in to hire and drive a Bedford from Cheltenham to London, to get a stack of canvasses into Madeleine's place. I do recall an insurance fudge, it was a dodgy trip, Karl and Madeleine braced in the back of the Bedford keeping stretchers steady, we howled through the dark countryside. Madeleine's Arts and Crafts mews studio was all one knew it would be, large elegant windows, handmade, horsehair filled mattress gracing the huge mezzanine and two inch' bleu' steaks for the help. If you are a painter you have to get your paintings seen, and this was a cracking venue. My header painting 'Woman and Dog on the Beach' was on and off the Brown's walls more times than you can knock a nail in. I just loved the energy Karl could get into his work, he was also the real deal.
AGED AND AWKWARD