This year sees the 50th anniversary of master spy James Bond created by Ian Fleming. Surprisingly, my path through life strikes some eerie parallels with these two characters.…
Mr Fleming didn’t start writing until his forties, starting Casino Royale at 43. This is almost the same age I started when Jane Stroud the then editor of the Leisure Painter magazine commissioned me to write an article on painting pastels with sanded surfaces.
During the war Ian worked for British Naval intelligence and was involved in ‘Operation Mincemeat’.. I was involved in something similar when I worked on Research and Development in the Petfood industry…
Ian bought a piece of land in Jamaica (then a British colony) with a private beach and reef and got a local contractor to build a simple house with a great view of the Caribbean Sea. He christened the house Goldeneye.
I bought a piece of land at Frisby on the Wreake(then a British colony) with a private riverbank and jetty and a great view of Frisby sailing club. I built myself a simple barn which I christened the Golden Paperstore.
Ian was a man of habits, after a morning swim, breakfast would be scrambled eggs, bacon and black coffee. I tend to avoid the morning swim as the river Wreake can be cold and muddy at the best of times. Breakfast is a mug of PG, stirred not shaken… and poached eggs from one of our fussier hens, Miss Hennypenny…. At 9:00am he would start writing in a shady room, with just a hint of a tropical breeze blowing through the jalousie windows.
After writing about 1000 words on his old imperial typewriter, he would sunbathe and swim before lunch. Afterwards he would sleep for an hour or two. At 5pm work would start by re-reading what had been previously written and make corrections, the day would end with cocktails on the veranda whilst watching a beautiful sunset.
At 9:00 my writing starts for the next Leisure painter article in my shady studio with the fresh odour of muck blowing through the window after being spread on the fields far too early (new EEC rules) and local dogs barking unremittingly for company. After writing about 1000 words on my temperamental computer and making sure I don’t lose the file into the ether, I have lunch, the only sunbathing option is to turn slowly rusty under the incessant rain.
After lunch I may sleep for two hours so as to be refreshed in case I need to do a demonstration that evening in an isolated village hall in some distant part of the country. Otherwise I will keep on working until about at which point I can enjoy a can of Fosters whilst watching the wind and rain bluster
across the patio.
James Bond is also famous for his gadgets and is regularly approached by ‘Q’ whose intention is to make spying easier. On a similar note, I am approached by ‘I’ from time to time with all manner of fabulous painting gadgets to make art easier. My job is to try out and write about these for the delectation of LP readers. Some of the items would not look out of place in a James Bond film!!
I’m also fond of designing and building my own art gadgets and have in the past designed various products that have come to market and some that have not yet seen the light of day. I wish I’d thought of those steel teeth that Jaws wears, they would be ideal for removing stubborn paint lids!! My most well known creation is Fisher400 artpaper which is enjoyed by artists worldwide. With this in mind I have recently developed a new paper with all the qualities of Fisher400 but with a deeper more golden finish. I’ve called this new surface Fisher400 Gold. As the theme of gold runs through so many Ian Fleming novels I couldn’t resist by saying this surface could be For Your Paintings Only….
To try out Fisher400 Gold for the first time, please visit our website at www.thecsc.co.uk where it will become available shortly.
Ps.. my hat size is 6 7/8”