I was born in Plymouth, Devon just before WW2 but as far as I know it wasn’t me who upset Hitler who nevertheless did his upmost to kill me and my family over the next five years. However we were lucky, for when he bombed Plymouth flat in 1940 my Mum and I were untouched and were evacuated to live out the War on a farm in Cornwall. My Dad, a sailor in the Royal Navy, on active service on the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Russian convoys thoughout the War never got his feet wet but my poor Uncle Jack,who I never knew, went down with the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous in the first week of the War.
All this you might think has little to do with Art but one of my first memories is of the sleepy lanes around the farm becoming suddenly alive with Army lorries of every shape and size in the build-up to D-Day. All at once I was hooked on lorries, perhaps the air of excitement and the generosity of the American GIs who supplied us urchins with sweets helped, but from that day on I started to draw these wonderful,[ to my eyes,] machines on any scrap of paper I could find.
Since then I have never stopped drawing, and I believe that to be able to draw is the key, if you want to be a painter of pictures then start with a pencil, it will give you an appreciation of line, of tone and train your eye on how to represent objects on a two dimensional suface to make them appear three dimensional and it will also build your confidence for when you do commit paint to canvas.
Despite, or because of, my interest in Art I was discouraged at every turn by both parents and teachers not to make a career of my "hobby" but to follow a real career and get a proper job in an office or even a bank and so I missed out on Art college which I desparately wanted.
In protest the first job I got on leaving school, much to my parent’s dismay, was with British Railways shovelling coal as a fireman on the footplate of a steam engine from which I get my love of steam locomotives and the railway of that era.
I worked for over two years at Saltley, one of the largest sheds on the system, on every type of job from shunting to express passenger work and on locomotives that varied from little 3F 0.6.0s, Black Fives, Doodlebugs right though to 9F 2.10.0s. Despite the hard work and discomforts of life on the footplate I loved every minute of it. I met and made friends with so many colourful characters, from drivers to the guy who swept the shed floor and count it a great priviledge to have been part of the elite body of men who gave the railway its unique identity and values.
Next came National Service in the British Army where I was taught to shoot straight,obey orders and to drive, [lorries naturally,] and I served three years for the Queen and did my duty. Again some of the men I met were such characters and the disipline and respect for the Army and its role in the proud history of my Country will always be with me.
Then came many years on the road in civvy street driving lorries, buses and coaches the length and breath of the country before making the break to work full time painting pictures of the subject I know best. Thoughout these years, even in the Forces, I continued to draw whenever I had the chance knowing that one day my dream of becoming a professional artist would be realised.
I still strive every day to learn more about painting in particular and Art itself in general and continue to make friends with some fine people though my involment in this thing called Art.
Visit my web-site, www.transportartist.co.uk and you’ll see what I mean.
Meanwhile I will be posting some other work on this site and hope to get some feed-back, positive or otherwise, to further improve my work because the day an artist sits back and is satisfied with his efforts that is the day he ceases to be an artist!
May I apoligise in advance if I appear to ignore comments, this is because as a working artist I sometimes am away from my computer for days at a time and don't particularly log on every day but do attempt to catch up when I can, thank you.
NOTICE I own full and exclusive copyrights on all my paintings on this website and they are protected under International Copyright laws. My images do not belong to the public domain and may not be posted in another web page on the internet or intranet, may not be published in a journal on this site or any other website such as Facebook or myspace, may not be published in any book, magazine, newsletter or newspaper, may not be duplicated, used in a derivative work of art, used as illustration for musical, dramatic, and/or literary works, or used for commercial use of any kind whatsoever without my prior express written permission, including but not limited to resale of my images without a licence for use. Copyright © Mike Jeffries 2010 The reproduction, publication, modification, transmission or exploitation of any work contained herein for any use whatsoever, personal or commercial, without my prior written permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.
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