When I began recruiting sitters in early 2013 for the Forum drawing sessions, I met Raymond at the Phoenix Centre for a Norwich Older Peoples Forum event. Raymond captured my interest…He was really struggling and frustrated by his hearing aids, and by the chronic arthritis in his hands( ‘look at that, it’s ridiculous!’ he said showing me how he could barely hold a pencil and write). He had on him photographs from his past; him in uniform taken in 1944 when he was in the Suffolk Home Guard, his dogs, the bus he drove in Luton in the 50’s amongst others. I asked him if he would like to sit for me. I heard nothing from him for a while and then received a post card from Raymond saying he felt he was ‘too old’ to be drawn (he is just over 80). I felt sorry to hear this and went no further.
In June this year, I had an exhibition of landscapes at Mandells Gallery, Norwich and received an email from the Gallery saying that Raymond had come to find me and would like to come and be a sitter for I’m Not Dead Yet.
Raymond has been for two sittings. I have arranged a third,..I dont feel the drawing I have done of him so far is Raymond..I want to try more..he seemed really pleased to come a again,he really appreciates the real coffee! He also suffers from loneliness as so many his age do, and therefore is glad of the company, and someone to talk to in a quiet environment one to one, which is ideal for someone with hearing problems.