Today, as part of the drawing challenge some of us are participating in, I made a gif. Happy Easter, everybody.
It was this picture that started it. I've been rummaging among my old teaching materials and came upon a small buff book, with cartridge-paper pages that are half blank, half ruled in light and heavier red. This pre-dates all the other stuff I found, as it comes from my childhood. From 1952, I would say, when I was in Infants 2 in Hillhead Primary School in Glasgow. A chance remark on the Facebook conversation that followed its publication there brought memories flooding back - far too many for that medium. And it struck me that this is social history as well as my history, and I find it fascinating. That's what brings me back to Blethers after so many months. I want to write it down before I forget, or before no-one who was there is around to remember with me.
Let's begin with Christine Findlay, pigtailed in Primary 2. By this time she will be almost 7, because her birthday is in September. This meant that she started school in January, already 5 years and 3 months old and able to read. She is no longer playing with Plasticene and lacing cards (the latter, for some reason, a great thrill; something never seen at home).
It is her class that provides this book, and some of my clearest memories. I can actually remember writing some of the legends in it, drawing the pictures to go with the writing exercise. In the course of it, we moved on to joined-up writing, copperplate. But before I go there, a vivid, stressful moment...
We were writing the letter l, lower-case, on the same kind of ruled paper as is above. And I couldn't work out how long the letter l (lower case) should go on. How many lines? Two thick and two thin? It looked far too long and wavering. I was distraught. We were forbidden erasers. Even when I saw a friend - was she a friend? - doing what looked a more correct version, there was no way I could hide my shame. I was a fool, and I blushed. That perky child in the picture - wearing, I notice, the regulation school winter jersey with the collar (striped in school colours) through which one threaded the school tie under the gym-slip - was feeling anything but perky.
But I progressed. My writing became fairly spectacularly neat copperplate - an example occurring in the day we learned about Diogenes. There is a wonderful picture of someone else's vision of how he might live here, but this is what I drew.
Thousands of budding young artists from across Scotland took part in this year’s John Byrne National Drawing Competition.
Cameron Lawson, a S3 pupil at Cedarbank School in West Lothian, has become the third pupil to win the competition, which is run in partnership with Education Scotland and open to pupils from Primary four through to third year in Secondary.
John Byrne said: “The talent this year has been outstanding, which made my job as a judge very difficult in choosing the overall winners.
“I’m delighted to have chosen Cameron as the overall winner as his drawing really captured the essence of the competition. The creativity of this piece stood out against other entries.
“I’m encouraged by the standard of all the artwork submitted in this year’s competition and I hope pupils across Scotland will continue to show us their artistic skills and love for drawing.”
The award ceremony took place at Paisley Museum, where a special exhibition of competition entries are on display for approximately five weeks.
The renowned artist and playwright, John Byrne, selected the work of Cameron Lawson as the winning entry. Eleana Meikle, a S3 pupil from Wellington School in Ayrshire, took second place and Charlotte Stewart, a P7 pupil from Gordon Primary School in Aberdeenshire was awarded third place.
John and the judges selected a further 30 young artists as runners up and they will receive a specially designed certificate.
Bill Maxwell, Education Scotland Chief Executive said: “I’m really pleased to see this competition, now in its third year, continue to attract such a high standard of entries from young artists of all ages. Education Scotland is delighted to be involved in the competition as it offers pupils, across Scotland, the opportunity to showcase their drawing skills and creativity and it is a great way to raise the profile of drawing. Congratulations to all the winners and those who took part.”
John was assisted by Ron Cowie, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland, Lorna MacDonald, City of Edinburgh Council, and Wilma Eaton, University of Strathclyde, to judge the competition which took place at the University of Strathclyde.