Doris Day – a portrait in stippling

This is going to be a bit of a heartfelt blog post, so you have been warned (in the nicest possible way)… I was very sad to hear the news of Doris Day’s passing just a couple of weeks ago on Monday, 13th May 2019. She has been my childhood and adult movie icon and the news of her death was a day that I really was not looking forward to. She lived to a good age and gave many people a lot of joy and laughter. She said she wanted her legacy to be her movies and for millions of people that is what they will remember.

Personally, I would like to thank Doris Day for all the letters I have received from her over the years (please see my earlier blog post for more details on that, as I don’t want to repeat myself to those who have already read it). I will treasure the letters and photographs that are in my possession and the wonderful memories that go with them. I was very touched by the amount of my friends who contacted me to ask how I was when the news of her death was announced. Thank you to all you who did that (you know who you are are).
Doris Day by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon for blogv2
My friend and colleague, Ashleigh Thompson, who is also a big fan of Miss Day’s movies and songs, asked me how I started writing to the Hollywood icon and I told her that I sent her some drawings back in the early 1980’s when I was little more than a child. When I got a reply from Doris Day, many weeks later, it was like winning the Lottery. She told me that she had auctioned off some of the portraits I had done for her (I can only imagine what they looked like way back then!) and that one of the buyers had been Frank Sinatra! I later thought he might have hung it in the garden shed, as my work was very ‘in its first flourish’ at the tender age of those very early portraits. The money raised from my drawings went, in her own words, to her ‘critters’ – the dogs and many other animals she took care of.

The illustration of Doris Day, above, was one of several movie star illustrations that I did for an exhibition (some of the other illustrations, such as Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly etc. have appeared on this blog on earlier postings). They were painstakingly done all in dots, which took many, many days to do, as ‘stippling by hand’ is not the quickest way to produce art. I gave the original illustration to one of my customers, Mr. Paul H. Spencer, who had been a lifelong fan of Doris Day. I knew it would be appreciated and cherished by him and it certainly is… There’s no better accolade for all the time and hours that have gone into a piece of art.

Doris Day by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon for blogv2  Doris Day, actress, singer, comedienne and animal welfare activist, b: 3 April 1922 – d: 13 May 2019

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Doris Day – A Portrait

Doris Day, Actress and Singer, b: 3 April 1924

I’ve always been a huge fan of old movies (particularly the black-and-white ones) and even at a young age knew a great many of the movie stars’ names. My parents were always clued-up to ‘who was who’ in the classic films, and I probably gained my interest from them.

Doris Day1 by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon for blog

The ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ produced some of the best actors and actresses, in my opinion and my most favourite, Doris Day. Actors and actresses at that time seemed to have style, poise and above-all mystique. Many of the modern-day stars parade every aspect of their life in the glare of the media: marriage breakdowns, personal and emotional problems etc. There is no mystery about most of them, sadly.

Quite a few years back, my Mother and younger sisters would constantly watch Doris Day movies and I would go and sulk in my room. As I grew a little older, I became a huge fan of Doris Day and in the early 1980’s I wrote a letter to this Hollywood legend, and sent it to her along with a portrait that I had done of her. To my utter delight and astonishment she wrote back! I don’t think there was anyone in that little terraced street that didn’t know my news by the end of the day.

My correspondence with Doris Day took off over the years, much to the delight of a lovely lady in Stanley Post Office, who was also a big fan. I remember her chatting to me, whilst sticking the stamps on Doris Day’s letters with pride.

The last letter I received from Miss Day was on 23 April 2012, when I had taken a day off work, to celebrate my patron saint’s day with an English ale in my English garden. After receiving this unexpected piece of mail, I could really say it was a ‘red-letter day’, as the sun was shining and all seemed well with the world.

During the last thirty years, I have done numerous drawings of Doris Day, one of which was shown in a large exhibition in Liverpool, but most of them have been for my own pleasure. Some of these have been coloured-pencil or pastel sketches, but the majority have been done with a technique, known as pointillism (if you look at some of my earlier posts on Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, you will see more examples of this technique).

I think my favourite movie of Doris Day’s has got to be ‘Pillow Talk’ (1959) in which she c0-starred, alongside her friend, Rock Hudson. The chemistry between the two characters, Brad and Jan, still amuses me to this day, along with Doris’ indignant expressions as she tries to reason about the best way of sharing a telephone party-line.  But I also have a special memory of playing at my friend, Kae McNeil’s house when I was just a young boy.  We were both heartily singing along to the Black The Hills Of Dakota, whilst her father, George, was trying to enjoy the movie ‘Calamity Jane’ (1953).

Doris Day has given me hours of laughs and I am grateful for the skill and talent that she has shared with the world. If you’re reading this Doris, I would like to applaud you and wish you a very Happy Birthday!    Michael

Thoughts On – Much-loved Quotes

I have always loved quotations, but I am one of those people that forget them as soon as I have heard them.  I was always quite annoyed at myself, as some of them were so poignant that I wanted to record them in my mental data bank.
19 June 20148 July 201422 August 2014
8 August 201419 August 201414-15 June 2014
11 June 201420 August 201419-20 July 2014
So, when I set up my Quinlyn Nixon Art facebook page, I decided to put some of my favourite quotes on there on a regular basis; I thought they would provide interest to people visiting my page, but also remind me of the quotes that I held most dear.  Some of the ones I have posted on my page include quotes from my favourite writers, C.S. Lewis and artists, Henri Matisse, as well as movie stars, such as Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day.

Some of the quotes were provided by my friend, Marie, who must have trawled the Internet looking for ones that would be both thought-provoking and profound.  Some of my favourites are included on this page…but I think the one that I remember the most is by the American Politician, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Great minds discuss ideas.  
Average minds discuss events. 
Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Thoughts On – Musical Inspiration

Over the last two-months I got to see two of my favourite singers – Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kiki Dee, along with her amazing musical partner and guitarist, Carmelo Luggeri.
Mary Chapin Carpenter ticket - 30 September 2014 (Q8)forblog      Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri ticket
It was great seeing these ladies (and a gentleman) ‘live’ as I have often produced illustration after illustration (often working until the early hours of the morning) whilst listening to them. Some music has gone-the-journey with me, as I have been a fan of Kiki Dee since I was a teenager (which was more years now than I care to reflect on). I remember buying the LP of ‘Perfect Timing’ in the early ‘80s, after saving what seemed like a considerable amount of pocket-money. It was well worth it and even now I still love this Kiki Dee album (although the LP has long since gone and been replaced with a CD).  I’m also a big fan of the new albums , which Kiki and Carmelo have worked on together – ‘Almost Naked’, ‘The Walk Of Faith’, ‘A Place Where I Can Go’

Music really inspires me, and if I am listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Nanci Griffith, Carrie Newcomer, Miriam Stockley, Eva Cassidy and the two ladies above (the list could go on), I know that I will be inspired. Sometimes it’s just a certain song that gets right to your heart. I tend to have favourite songs by nearly all of my favourite singers, but ‘This Shirt’ is one of my favourites by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I love the way that the story unwinds about this much-loved and well-worn piece of clothing. Mary Chapin Carpenter has got a fantastic voice to tell the story.

A newcomer to my musical collection (pardon the pun) is Carrie Newcomer. I am smitten with her songs too. Can anybody listen to ‘Betty’s Diner’ without getting tears in their eyes? It’s great hearing the lyrics about people, from all walks of life, all congregating in the same place and being looked after by a caring and wise waitress, called Melinda.  I will have to do a post on favourite songs on another occasion…

Just want to say a big thank you (out there) to the musical artists that have inspired me over the years… Kiki, Crystal, Belinda, Wanda, Nanci, Trisha, Mary, Emmylou, Eva, Carrie…I salute you!

Songs that I would recommend (to anyone!):

Kiki Dee: ‘How Glad I Am’ (put your dancing shoes on beforehand), ‘Loving and Free’, ‘Song For Adam’, ‘One And Only Love’‘Into Eternity’, ‘There’s A Need’ and all of her hits: ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Star’…  I would run out of (cyber)space if I listed them all!
Emmylou Harris: ‘Boulder to Birmingham’, ‘If I Could Only Win Your Love’‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’. Great songs!
Mary Chapin Carpenter: This Shirt’, ‘Down In Mary’s Land’, ‘Quittin’ Time’ (I am listening to that right now!)
Carrie Newcomer: Before And After’, ‘Betty’s Diner’, ‘There Is A Tree’
Eva Cassidy: ‘Fields Of Gold’, ‘I Know You By Heart’, ‘True Colours’…  Wonderful singer!
Miriam Stockley: ‘Arcadia’ and so many more… This lady has a fantastic voice.
Nanci Griffith: ‘Once In A Very Blue Moon’ and ‘Late Night Grande Hotel’ and many more
Belinda Carlisle: ‘Summer Rain‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’
Simon and Garfunkel: ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘April Come She Will’
Tracy Grammer: ‘April Come She Will’, ‘Gypsy Rose’ and so many others…
Wanda Jackson: ‘I May Never Get To Heaven’, ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’ and many more…
Trisha Yearwood: ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud’ (one of my favourites!)
The Carpenters: ‘Top Of The World’…(you should hear me sing it!)

Doris Day       A childhood favourite actress/singer of mine (and worthy of her own post)