Friday, 6 July 2012

Something borrowed : shaving brush

It wasn't purposefully borrowed to tell you the truth...

My Dad forgot it last time he, and my Mum, came to visit.

We - me, DH and four little frogs - live in a rather small three bed victorian mid terrace cottage, so it can be a bit difficult to put up visitors. We do have a sofa bed but my Dad is 81 and his age requires some consideration. Fortunately Recipe Junkie kindly offered, on the occasion I was referring to, an accomodation more appropriate to a 'Maitre'. My Dad is an artist and it's a recurrent joke in the family that everybody, even his closest and dearest, should call him Maitre.

Well... he is actually masterful in his art and I greatly admire him.

He trained as a draughtsman and started working for the French Royal Mail, the PTT, where he was very bored and, told us, filled the time by sticking banners on flies' arses (sic). He got so bored that eventually he made himself a portfolio and went from publisher to publisher, looking for some work as an illustrator. He found work with the Librairies Maloine to illustrate medical books. He attended surgery in theatre (he who has a phobia of needles!) and became a specialist in anatomy, even correcting anatomic mistakes from the authors' sketches. He illustrated many reference works which are still highly regarded now.
A review of one of the last books he illustrated even described him as one of the foremost medical artists in the world.
This is known to my children and has been chosen by #1 to illustrate the olympic value of 'excellence' in her homework! (which made my Dad prouder than the review itself)

Computerisation has unfortunately been the death of hand drawn illustrations, which of course are much more expensive for the authors and publishers. For a number of years now my Dad has been working as an independant artist : oil and watercolour but particularly line drawing in ink.

So, that's a glimpse of him as Bernard Tardieu, the artist. As for Papa... The shaving brush left behind is quite typical of him. He always forgets something here (him or my Mum). He is a bit of a hyponcondriac although he is in extraordinary good health for someone his age, in spite of having suffered a heart attack about 13 years ago and subsequently a triple coronary bypass.

He speaks his thoughts as they come through his head, which can lead to hurting sensitivities but he has a heart of gold and would never hurt intentionally.

He has absolutely no shame and is therefore very good at haggling.

He is witty and mischievous especially if he gets bored (re PTT's flies). A long time ago I was manning one of his exhibitions with him when a lady asked if he used a quill from a real feather to do his drawings (ink or line drawing is called litterally drawing with a quill in French). My Dad then launched into a lengthy explanation about not only using real feathers but not any real feathers, some from the bottom of a goose... I had to leave the room to let out the laughter that threatened to choke me.

His scattiness doesn't limit itself at forgetting things. Maybe it's because he lives on his personal artistic cloud. Once in visit here (when we had only #1) he was sent to put some rubbish in the recycling bin outside, which was at the back of our garden where we had a large driveway and a garage in a row of four. He managed to miss our bin and put the rubbish in the neighbours' compost bin at the back and top of their garden. We were all (my Mum, DH and me) horrified when we realised. Being him he didn't think twice and went stealthily (and shamelessly of course) to remove the offending items from the compost bin.

I love him very, very dearly.


  1. A beautiful post, just so lovely to read, has left me smiling.
    What a wonderfully talented man and a wonderful father too :-)xx

  2. Thanks Jo! I will never live it down if he reads this sometimes ;) xxx

  3. I love your tales, this is so beautifully written

    By the way, I've nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award, no need to join in, just thought I'd let you know!

  4. Wow, thank you Leoni-Fay! It's almost erased the guilt of having spent the morning blogging and twittering ;) and feeding and playing with #4!
    Will say hello on your blog soon. xxx

  5. Such a lovely collection of thoughts about your talented dad. His detailed line drawings are amazing x
    (look forward to seeing some of your illustrations too)

    1. Thank you Single Married Mum. And congratulations, you are my first follower!

  6. Thanks for joining us at welcome to the weekend blog hop,have a lovely weekend :)

    1. You too! Hope there is a bit more sunshine your way than there is here!

  7. Beautiful.

    I keep writing and deleting, because it's difficult to say what I want. I think I'll stick with the one word. It says it all.

  8. What a lovely comment, thank you! X

  9. Hi, great post. I found you via the Claire Justine linky party. I have linked in a post about the artist Chagall.

  10. Hi from Friday Blog Hop, Love your site! Come & say hello when you get a chance.


  11. Your writing conveys so well your admiration and love of your dad. Just beautiful. He sounds like a real character! Thanks for sharing it over on #oldiesbutgoodies