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Went to the British realists exhibition at Embra’s Modern Art II today.

As a Nottnm lad, I’m obviously a fan of Laura Knight, whose Dawn so grabbed me when I first set foot in the admin office of the RA in That London.

Not that there’s more than one picture by her, a rather idiosyncratic circus scene. But it is a fascinating show with so many paintists what was new to your correspondent. It ends on Saturday, if you was thinking of going. And if you’re wondering what to buy me as a retirement pressie (as I mentioned before, last week I hit OAPdom and the Scottish NHS scanned me for abdominal aneurysm by way of celebration), the catalogue is a snip at £20, but I still can’t afford it, at least until I hear I have housing benefit and don’t have to start looking for a large cardboard box to sleep in.

It’s not all Stanley Spencer, that era (though I have always had a soft spot for his brother Gilbert, since a print of one of his landscapes hung in my paternal gran’s retirement gulag); there’s also Hilda Carline, aka Mrs Spencer Mk I: another fine brush wielder in her own right. And a large painting by her of their maid at Cookham hangs on one wall, rather too high up for a photo … in fact photos aren’t allowed, but had her head been a about the same height as my own, I would have said to hell with these ‘rule’ things, and snapped her as the most apt yet of my Elsies. That being her name.

The problem with looking at all these competent and occasionally brilliant paintings is that it makes me feel like giving up on my own, which are neither.

I’ll be an artist — nevermore, he added, referring to the fact that he’s nearly learnt the whole of Poe’s pome ready for Saturday night’s soiree. Maybe a video will follow.

But the Assisi effort is coming on. Held up not only by chasing benefits and pension, laziness and feelings of inadequacy, but also the fact that one or more paint tubes had oozed linseed oil into the paintboxes (cheap, inadequately-blended shit) since I last did any oil painting and dried-on oil is sticky and nasty and hard to shift. Thank heaven for meths.