Glum Woman Wearing Purple Scarf


Once while strolling around Scarborough I got chatting to a glum-looking woman of about 30. There're a few benches in a row which afford a good view across the South Bay. I was sat on one with the usual sandwiches, flask and chocolate and she was sat on the next one. I had my binoculars and used them to scan the ocean's horizon. It seemed ill-manner not to ask if she wanted a look. I had some Quality Street on the bench and as she seemed a little crestfallen so she had one and we got chatting. It was quite warm so the thick coat and scarf she was wearing seemed a bit too much. Was she on holiday? Scarborough is mainly locals, university students or holidaymakers. It wasn't obvious.

   After the usual pleasantries I said, "I’m on holiday, stopping in The New Southlands Hotel. The bathroom suite is pea green but I like it. What about you - do you live here?”

  “Something like that," was the best I could get but it quite a posh accent. There were a few more generic questions and she seized on my broad accent. I said I was from Manchester. Where did she come from?

   "I’m on the run I suppose,” she said quizzically. I didn’t quite know what to say (perhaps she was a mass murderer.) She was vague, fuzzy and it was like talking to someone behind a pane of glass.

   "Have you been robbing banks or something?" I asked.

   She said she lived in a day centre "up there" and pointed down the coastline towards Filey and added “they’ll be out looking for me in a bit.”

   "Your family will?" I asked nosey as usual.

   "No, two of the workers probably. They might be looking for me now so don't say anything if anyone asks will you," she said, "I think they let me walk out so they can come out and have a smoke." It was a nice face above the expensive coat but the sun did little to lift the glumness around her. Was she dumbed down by drugs or life? I wasn't sure but soon made my excuses and carried on walking.


The above conversation was about five years ago but I've never forgotten it. Recently I thought I’d try painting a face with a palette knife and I thought I'd try painting Miss Glum. Here she is from memory - all done with a knife excepting the strands of hair and dabs of white. Painting a face with a brush is arduous and even more limiting with a knife you have to try don't you? I tend to forget big things and remember trivial things I can still recall the sun on Miss Glum's profile - I bobbed in tiny bits of white. I like watching documentaries about World War Two and while scraping away I was watching one about the Nazis. On the screen you'll see Adolf Eichmann who's often considered to be the worse Nazi as he organized much of the Holocaust. Unfortunately he was effective at carrying out his task of moving millions of Jews from the ghettos to extermination camps. After the war he fled to Argentina and was captured while working for Mercedes-Benz.  He was executed by hanging in a prison in Israel in aged 1962 aged 56.


Anyway, here's the painting which was finished quite quickly. I didn’t take many photos you’ll be glad to know. The paints dried quite dark so I varnished them to bring out the colours. As it was waterproof varnish you could perhaps mount this in your stables or kennels. It's dry and ready to post. For £8442 I can mail it to you tomorrow after my Embalming For Beginners lesson.