My Mate, Matisse and My House Candy

In what is a retail first for me, last weekend I made a shopkeeper very happy for not paying for something. 

I tried, but he wouldn't let me. Jeez, maybe this 80 year old antiques dealer has mistaken me for that other celebrity blogger with the 30 million followers and the power to catapult his little backstreet shop into the Sunday papers, I thought. Is this what winning the Interior Blog Awards could do for me? (vote here to find out)

Here's what actually happened.

Edward, who looks like a mad scientist (and if he hasn't discovered the essence of eternal youth, has definitely found the secret to eternal happiness) runs a small antiques shop in the North Yorkshire village of Knaesborough and has done for the past 40 years.

In it, I'd found and set aside various old bits of furniture, an emerald glass tea set, some odd bits and bobs that were gathering dust on windowsills and on my last scoot around, checking I hadn't missed any unmistakeable House Candy, I pointed at this picture. 

"Do you like it?" he asked. 

"Great colours", I said, because I was still deciding if I did or not.

"It's pastels", he said, "It will smudge if you take the glass off. It's in the style of Matisse."

"I know," I said, feeling rather smug. I did art at A level, I remembered loving working with pastels and the satisfaction of manipulating the chalky colours with my fingers and thumbs. And I totally recognised the fluid shapes and merging figures of the French impressionist. There looked to be several couples cavorting in this scene. In fact, it looked like there was a lot of love (and maybe a bit of acid) in the subject room and I suspect Edward could have provided further background to the scene had I pressed him on it.

"How much?" I asked, a question which cracks a smile with most salesman, but which initiated an ear to ear grin on 80 year old Edward. He nudged me and with a wink replied,

"You can have it," and he proudly took it down from the wall.

"I did it myself, many years ago and it's been up in my attic. My wife told me I had to have a clear out so it won't be such a big job for everyone when I die. I'm ready to die you know, I won't mind." He said quickly, in case I should feel at all sorry for him. 

He clambered down his steps, refusing help and all the time regarding his work and muttering about the special times he spent painting with his son. When he got to the point of writing me out a paper receipt for my other items (the bit he likes best apparently), he added:

"It's been on the wall a few weeks now and you are the first person to show an interest."

I like being that person that paid an interest in Edward's artwork. I like that this picture makes me want to pick up a box of pastels and make my own art - something I haven't done since I passed my A level. And I really like Edward for still feeling the buzz when someone appreciates his work.

Edward rocks and so does my new, acid coloured pastel on paper. I'm calling it "Party On Edward". And I know he totally will. 

Thank you so much if you have voted for me already in the Interior Blog Awards Best Design Inspiration category. I'm sorry for going on about it but I really have absolutely no chance in this phenomenally tough category if I don't big myself up, like 10 million times. In fact, I'm the Edward in a category full of Matisse's. I'm just hoping you'll be the one who notices me.

Happy Weekend all,

Claire x