Stan & Ollie – Bear-a-thought Illustration

I am excited about going to see the ‘Stan and Ollie’ film released in the United Kingdom today, which is based on the lives of the actors and comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  It stars actors Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly in the respective roles.  It reminded me of a teddy bear illustration that I did of the famous black-and-white comedy duo many years ago…
stan & ollie by michael quinlyn-nixon for blogb
Whilst working on one of my teddy bear calendar themes, in 2003, I came up with the idea of famous bears and made a list of the many characters that I like, that are very recognisable by their costume or attire.  The list was very long, but some suggestions had to be scrapped and a smaller list compiled.  One of the suggestions on the list that appealed to me was Laurel and Hardy.  I had a discussion with Jennifer A. Stephenson, my friend who kindly made the outfits and other paraphernalia for the teddy bears, and she was also drawn to the idea of Laurel and Hardy too.  

In deference to the comedy duo’s fine slapstick humour, we decided to dress them in dungarees (rather than their formal black suit and ties), but, of course, we had to include the bowler hats and their distinctive neckties.  To go along with the dungarees, we created a decorating scenario with ladders, wallpaper and paint (my father, Robert, kindly made the ladders and toolbox).  Luckily one of Jennifer’s friends, the late Pat Holmes (nee Boustead – a well-known singer in the County Durham area) was decorating her home at this time, so this proved to be the ideal place in which to create our ‘Hollywood film set’. 

As it happened, shortly after the photographs were taken and the sketches were drawn, we disassembled the scene and I slipped and spilled the whole pot of banana custard coloured paint all over the floorboards.  Pat wasn’t too annoyed, as she was planning on a carpet anyway, but she could have easily used Oliver Hardy’s famous quote and stated, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into”.

I remember watching Laurel and Hardy when I was young and they always made me laugh with their funny and inoffensive humour.  Stan Laurel (b: 1890 – d:1965) was my favourite, as I loved the way he scratched his head when perplexed, but Oliver Hardy (b: 1892 – d:1957) had the most amazing face, which was full of disbelief one minute and wreathed in wonderful smiles the next.

When I was a little boy, I remember my Grandfather Lake telling me that Stan Laurel had lived in County Durham for a while, but that he had been born in Cumbria.  Both of these English counties have tributes to these two wonderful men who brought so much joy to so many people’s lives.

The illustration ‘Stan & Ollie’ was started on 18 April and completed on the 5 May 2003.

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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)

Newsletter No: 3 – January 2015

Welcome to a few thoughts and some items of my work in this newsletter for January; I hope you enjoy it…  I’ve been doing some work at my previous workplace, so I have been splitting my time between there and my base at home.  It’s been great being back with some of my special friends and colleagues, but a bit awkward at times balancing work priorities on occasions.  I’m sure I’ll cope {sigh}.

I’ve also had a very interesting and fun-filled time at a local school on the 14th of January.  I was asked to go and talk about ‘my life as an artist’.  The teachers and the children were a pleasure to speak to, as they asked me all sorts of questions about my life and work.  I then showed them some work in my portfolio case and also did a live demonstration, sketching and colouring a ladybird with coloured-pencils.  I was amazed when the children went to draw their ladybird pictures; they had really listened and studied the techniques that I had shown them.  It was a very special morning and I enjoyed both their company and their enthusiasm.  Their parents must be extremely proud of them, I know I would be…QNA Newsletter(2)September2014

Thoughts On – Thomas Lake

On my Facebook profile, I include a quote at the beginning of every week.  This week’s quote was inspired by a war quotation that I saw in Waterstones’ bookshop window in Newcastle upon Tyne.  The window had an array of books and items to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.  The quote struck me by it’s simple but profound message.  It was so thought-provoking that I scribbled it down in my notebook.  The writer’s wisdom speaks for itself in that, we, as humankind, need to remember our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.  It made me think that we have all been living on planet Earth for over two-thousand-years and there are still wars raging, people dying, orphans crying…
Remembrance week quote 11 - 16 November
The quote also made me think of one of my own brave relatives, Thomas Lake, who gave his life in the fight for freedom in the First World War.  I discovered this unknown relative when my friend, Jennifer A. Stephenson, began my Family Tree. As time wound on, I delved into the initial research that she had uncovered.  One of the strangest ‘finds’ Jennifer discovered was that our relatives had fought cheek-by-cheek on the blood-drenched battlefields of Ypres.  Both perished on the fields, where the poppies prospered, with Thomas being pronounced dead on the 2nd of December 1917.  His name is recorded at the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 108 to 111) and closer to home on the Burnopfield War Memorial in Tyne and Wear.  I was lucky to receive a photograph of Thomas from some Lake relatives, whom I had contacted whilst researching my family history.  There was also another photograph of Thomas standing with his widowed mother, Harriet, holding a British Star medal for bravery.  Unfortunately, someone has cut Thomas’ head off the photograph (possibly for a locket or a smaller picture frame), so the image was not worthy of being shown.

I am very proud of Thomas and his heroism and feel that he, and the men that fought alongside him, are very worthy of all of the recognition that they can be given.

It would be nice to think, that sometime in the future, that Edward Burke’s wise words were adopted and adhered to by all the people who inhabit and live upon this planet we share…
Thomas Lake for blogBurnopfield War Memorial December 2009for blogTLakenameonmemorialforblogThomas Lake medals received sheet
Picture 1: Lance Corporal Thomas Lake, with fellow soldiers.  Thomas is on the back row, in the centre.
Picture 2: The War Memorial at Burnopfield, Tyne and Wear.
Picture 3: Detail of Thomas Lake’s name on the memorial.
Picture 4: Details of the medals Thomas Lake received.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day…                Words by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

I would like to thank Jennifer A. Stephenson and Marie L. Smyth, for supplying me with the above information on my relative, Thomas Lake.