16 July 1954 – 2 December 2018
Remembering Charlie Watts on his birthday,
Charles remained through life, my dear friend , a gentleman, artist and an enlightened teacher.
We met whilst studying at Gloucester College of Art. He was on the Foundation Course with Mick Maslen as his Tutor, and I was on the sculpture Degree Course. On my twentieth Birthday we got together, and remained so for 20 years, and so began our life long friendship.
As young art students together, we never had any money, always lived in cold houses in the middle of no where.We made the best out of what we had, if we had land we grew veg and kept chickens, and when we had plum trees we made jam and wine. When we lived at the cottage in Redmarley, Charles painted in the old cider press , which was a lean to, but in the winter the snow drifted onto him through the roof tiles so he had to dress up in layers and come in frequently to thaw out his frozen fingers so he could paint . I worked in a tiny room upstairs with an old cat for company , and a little window which overlooked a few dwellings and fields towards Gloucester.
We were so excited when Charles won a place on the Masters Degree Course, at Royal College of Art in London. His tutor was Proff Peter De Francia, whome he greatly admired. For his interview we had driven up to London with his big oil paintings tied with ropes to the roof rack of his Dads old renault the whole car shook as the wind caught under the stretchers when anyone overtook or if he accelerated too much.
While attending the RCA Charles lived with other RCA students in a squat , coming home to the cottage at Redmarley and the views of the Malvern hills some weekends. Often bringing his friends. A lively and varied group of young painters . I fed them on pasta and home made wine , they were full of confidence and ideas, and hungry for more. They all chatted and argued about art until the early hours and then made a bed where ever they could, jammed into every corner of our little cottage.
Some years later , Charles was offered a Fellowship at Falmouth College of Art and Design, and so we headed for Cornwall with our few moth eaten possessions, and lots of paintings in a rented van. To begin with, we lived in a converted single story farm building and studio owned by Josephine Gooden , next to her Lizard farmhouse . It had for many years, been the home of her close friend Bryan Ingham who continued to visit on his old motor bike. Josephine was a kind woman, who liked the company of artists and introduced us to John Wells once when he visited her for tea .
At this time we also acquired a little rescue dog named Ruby , and she and I would go as often as we could to my rented Acme studio in the old net loft, Breageside, Porthleven . Soon Charles would join me there. But again the rooms were bitter in the winter, this time from the sea wind which blew snow through the worn gaps in the loft doors and made any floor carpets whistle as they lifted. In the summer though it was lovely , and to make money we held a summer School there and I sold paintings in the local galleries.
Eventually we had just enough money for a down payment on our first home, a little cottage in Praze an Beeble, beside the methodist Chapel . We each had a room for a studio , and taught part time at the local colleges to pay the bills.
We finally parted, but always remained close friends. Charles met and set up home with Potter Linda Styles in Falmouth. It is where he died, December 2nd 2018 .
To see the gallery of work he put together before he died, go to :-https://www.pinterest.co.uk/charliewattsart/