Sunday, June 19, 2005

Illustration Friday - BLACK & WHITE

When I was eight I was sent on my own by plane from Fiji to England to start boarding school. I arrived at Heathrow after a 36 hour journey having left my parents and brother and sister behind. I was very frightened and very homesick and to be met at the airport by these two beings kitted out in black and white did nothing to comfort me. I felt weighed down by my extraordinarily heavy clothes and shoes. The taxi drive back to Haunton Hall (that really was its name!) filled me with depression. The cold, the dark, the long rows of dreary brown terraced houses snaking down the ugly streets, the townscape desecrated with huge hideous advertising hoardings. The unfamiliar names of the nuns - Concepta, Perpetua, Jeanne D'Arc, Marie de Lourdes, St Patrice, Winifred - all contributed to a truly terrifying experience.

But the robustness of human nature is phenomenal. Once the other girls arrived a day or so later it really wasn't so bad apart from one little bully, who made it her job to ensure that I cried at least once a day - but then she'd been there since she was six so she'd really been toughened up!


Blogger Joanne said...

Great drawing and story (what an interesting life you've had so far!). I love the faces on the nuns, especially the puckered up one.

6/19/2005 10:33 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow, fantastic illustration, and what an experience that must of been!

6/20/2005 12:13 AM  
Blogger jas faulkner said...

I love the story and the illustration. The scale of the nuns to little girl you speaks volumes about how you must have felt.

6/20/2005 12:23 AM  
Blogger adifferentfish said...

fantastic illustration mate! You've really captured the event and the feelings you described well...

6/20/2005 12:28 AM  
Blogger Rick Lovell said...

I know these nuns! I had them too, in catholic grade school...I feel your pain, especially in my knuckles (which were often rapped with wooden rulers), and in my cheeks (which were daily pinched and pulled for whispering too loudly or not maintaining a perfect queue while waiting for lunch).
Great illustration, but a bit too authentic.

6/20/2005 2:14 AM  
Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

I really like this. It looks great! I Also love autobio work!

6/20/2005 3:12 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the scrunched mouthed Nun, although you didn't. Great submission!

6/20/2005 6:55 AM  
Blogger isay said...

i really smiled almost laughin' when i saw your illo-it reminds me of the newly arrived nuns in the phils., when they haven't adjusted yet their habits to the weather conditions....
you have inspired me to become better in my illo and practice a lot.... i like the family picture!

6/20/2005 7:31 AM  
Blogger Cin said...

oh terrific solution to the theme to recall a childhood story wonderfully illustrated, love the differences in the nuns !

6/20/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Thank you all so much for saying such nice things, its going to give me a warm glow all day!

6/20/2005 1:02 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

I love the emotion of this piece...and the story that goes along with it too. Beautiful style. Thanks for sharing.

6/20/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger Thermion7 said...

Wow, this illustration, seems to me, to be your best by far (I hope that's taken as a compliment.) The colors are rich and sophisticaated, and the view angle is great; making the traveller seem that much smaller.
Great job!

6/20/2005 5:12 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Thank you Cat. Thermion that's very kind, although to be absolutely honest, my illustrations are a bit like children, so deep down I feel like I want them all to be loved equally - I know it's pathetic in a grown woman.

6/21/2005 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really good illo - captures the vulnerability you were feeling exceptionally well.


6/22/2005 11:54 AM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

Never underestimate the intimidating power of penguins! Great picture- I love the use of perspective

6/23/2005 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Shulay said...

I love the illustration and the autobiographical story. I think you should write an illustrated children's book. I used to love stories about girls at boarding schools etc. If Madonna can write one so can you!!!

6/24/2005 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Patrick. said...

Having inhereted the case from you, I think it would be great if you could re-do the Lloyd-Tresitino Line Logo - if you can find it.
It was stuck on the side of the case. A Circle sticker, blue background and white text.
As Shulay said you really should do illustrations for children's books.
This picture evokes many memories for me - one of which was having to collect thorns from the playground and also getting thrashed with a ruler across the the pyramid of my finger tips for drinking squash when Mum and Dad had forgotten to pay for this 'extra'. Ah where are social services when you need them - I better shut up before the Holy See sends the troops after me!

7/04/2005 3:02 PM  
Anonymous fay stephens said...

I was at St Joesphs (Haunton Hall) from '61-'66 and also become an illustrator. Your memory of the uniform is spot-on as is the view of the back lawn in your post dated 17th June 2005. I love the idea of an illustrated diary. I work in digital format only these days and long to return to drawing and painting one day.

9/01/2006 2:04 AM  
Anonymous Casey said...

This is really an excellent illustration. I admire your ability to draw form your imagination. I loved the whole post - what a terrifying experience for an eight year old!

1/03/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

Wow! Amazing illustration and memory. How scary!

8/15/2007 6:29 AM  
Blogger Keeley said...

Oh my good gravy, you have those nuns spot on.

You poor thing! At least I was with my older sister when I was sent along. You must have been terrified.

I don't remember a St. Patrice, but actually, I loved Winifred. She never had a nasty or sarcastic word to say, and thus I felt rather kindly towards her. Kindly enough that when Lourdy called Winifred "stupid" for falling down the stairs and breaking her hip, I was furious.

Oooooh Lordy was a nasty piece of work. How did she end up being the nurse, anyway? She had the most lack of compassion in any other human being I've ever met.

Ok, now I have to go explore your other posts. =)

7/21/2008 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friend Fay (via Twitter) told me today about this illustration and your blog post. The power of it is amazing. I am blogging about my own experiences at a Catholic boarding school in the sixties in the United States. I hope you'll visit Girls Sent Away

12/05/2008 10:16 PM  
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