So, here I am. Back from a 6 week painting and sightseeing trip through unknown territory, that is to say: 3 weeks Cyprus, 3 weeks Crete, 1 day London. And although the weather was great almost all the time on these Mediterranean islands, it can never be as warm as at home, at least psychologically not. So, not a trace of vacation withdrawal, simply happiness to be back home after a fantastic time in which I did loads of sketches. Because in fact, what I call here vacation, is not really vacation for me, it is work too.. a dream job though!
And now it ‘s time to gradually complete and publish all this work.
Well, I have a very weird habit: when I read a magazine, I cannot help starting with the last page and browse my way back to the cover. No idea where this comes from -I have researched, I have definitely no Arabian ancestors!-, have often tried to fight it, but I cant: I have to start with the end. The reason might be my impatient nature, I perhaps cannot face that amount of pages until the end? Whatever: for some obscure reason, I will now start my publishing work with the very last sketch I did, yesterday evening in London.
We had to come back from Crete through the UK, Kevin having a BCSweet gig in Great Yarmouth and I had to wait for him in London. For all kinds of reasons we had booked a room for me in a Travelodge at Gatwick airport. Now, I didn’t know exactly what a travel lodge is, but I imagined some very cheap, cold, impersonal and unpleasant place. But let me tell you: I have been in many hotels in my life, some very posh and some very fancy, in any case much more expensive than the Travelodge… and much worse! I know I am running the risk of being judged as a tasteless and common person – truly a bad reputation for an artist! – but I do love well-thought-out and functional things. This hotel is one of them: the shower is hot, the shower curtain is not too short, there is enough room around the sink for 2 persons toiletries, the towels are immense, the bed is double and big, the pillows are soft enough to not break my neck and long enough to be cuddled in case of the loved one’s absence, the TV is not microscopic and does not offer hundreds of useless channels, there is a long table-top to display all my painting stuff and start painting without having to move everything else, there is a big wardrobe area set apart, the heating works fine, and the most important thing in the world: there is a water kettle and a tray with instant coffee and milk!!!!! And outside the rooms, there is a vibrant cafeteria/restaurant area with loads of nice stuff to drink and eat, and free speedy internet. Now this is much more than what I got in some 500 euros a night hotels in my luxurious past!!!!!
So, there, I was, Friday evening, ready to pack again for our flight to Alicante next morning, when I noticed one of the leaflets pricing the services of the Travelodge. There were some very cute photos on it, featuring 2 bears having a ball at the Travelodge, drinking coffee, looking at TV and surfing the net. Having started a series of coffee mugs sketches on this holiday capturing our coffee adventures in Cyprus and Crete, I decided to make a sketch of these bears, strongly inspired by one of these photos. And here it is:
By the way: If you really think now that I have a cheap taste, then I must tell you that I am not the only one. Among the bears and also all sorts of people there, of all ages and nationalities who seemed to enjoyed their stay there, I discovered a celebrity of the rock scene, obviously trying to stay incognito behind his sunglasses, probably not to admit publicly that he too loves the Travelodge at Gatwick Airport! He couldn’t fool me though, but well, to respect his wishes, I won’t tell his name and and considering his aristocratic look, I decided to baptise him
“The Count of Gatwick Travelodge”
Any similarity with a living person is purely intentional…
PS: I haven’t been paid for this article, but if the Travelodge company wants to give me a free life pass for all Travelodges of the world (do they exist outside the UK?), I won’t say no!!!!
As usual, these artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery