Happy Birthday To Me



I love walking on the hills in Todmorden in the evenings. Three valleys meet here so being high up affords a terrific view as the town lights up. You can see the town lighting up and, if you’re lucky, follow the streets lamps switching on about every twenty seconds.


Some paths lead passed farmhouses (the owners must loathe this) and it would be bad manners not to glance in the windows. When dusk is falling and the weather is cold these lamp-lit lounges and kitchens look inviting. These hilltop farms are often heated by real fires and the owners usually have dogs and they seem to eat late (I’ve lost count of the number of houses I passed in the evening and seen people only just cooking a meal.)


These people have little idea a nosey dude like me is passing their home and they leave the curtains open. I remember seeing a huge couple lying on a couch in matching tartan pyjamas with a big bowl of crisps between them (it reminded me of the Slumberland bed advert with two hippopotamuses on a mattress.) Also a dad helping three young lads build a monstrosity from Lego, kids playing football with a beach ball near an open fire (not a good idea) and someone hammering a big drum kit.


I often walk up to a field with a single tree in it (have hugged it) and was making my way back down from a packhorse path to the town when I passed by the back of some terraced. I saw the back of a woman wearing a silky shiny Chinese-style dress looking at a cake with a candles on it. I stood still near some bins and expected her to carry it into the lounge (which was visible) but she didn’t. She leaned over and blew out the candles then started put some bread in the toaster. Was it her birthday and she had no-one to celebrate it with? Had she made it for a child’s first birthday and could not resist lighting the candles? If I remained behind the bins to find out I might have got arrested eventually so I walked on down to the car.


I have painted this one in about two hours. I set down the first layer in acrylic paint so it would dry quickly, added a layer of oils paint and it seemed oddly near-finished. I just added a few effects here and there, wanting to get it finished. This was just one of those paintings you start because you’ve mixed too much paint while doing another painting. I prefer paintings showing a minimum of two people as they sometimes spur a story. I was glad to get it finished and I didn’t bother signing it.



The dog doesn’t look too impressed…


Adding some texture…


Now for the cake….



Walking on the darkened hills listening to an audio books is one of my favourite things.