I have Robert Lenkiewicz to thank for my love of drawing. I remember standing in his studio doorway watching him draw pencil portraits for those lucky enough to afford the £1 fee. I remember being eager to get back to the childrens home and get my pencils out and try to emulate the deft pencil strokes I had seen Robert lenkiewicz do.
I would make many more visits to the studio over the years and become a big fan of his work. Robert always welcomed me to look round the studio on Barbican. I can still smell the paint on the canvases and all the tubes of paints along with many homemade palettes each palette cut to a regular size and painted black. Robert always prepared the canvas by painting the canvas black It was fascinating to see several palettes on the go for different canvases. Amongst all the brushes pots and props I was intrigued by the vintage mirror with handle just like the one my mum had on her dresser, I later learned that Robert used this as a tool, apparantly this allows artists to see the image reversed, which makes any distortions or imbalances more obvious, it also allows you to see a fresh view of the subject. Robert was a prolific painter I was always treated to something new on each visit.
I eventually left Plymouth to join the army in 1979 My visits still continued when I had leave, it was a delight to see Roberts latest project.
When I left the army I ended up living in Dorset. It was whilst I was working at the library I was offered accommodation with a Dorchester family and was offered the the granny annex. I loved my time there I was really made welcome and I became part of the family. The family got to know all about my love for drawing and it wasn't long before I converted them to being Lenkiewicz fans.
My Landlady was Norwegian and her family would come over to England on holiday, it was during one of their stays that their cousin Daniella (newly converted lenkiewicz fan), she loved my Lenkiewicz silkscreens that I had on the walls througout the house. I asked Daniella wether she would like to be a muse for Robert, she was gobsmacked that I actually knew Robert lenkiewicz and that I could arrange this. I wrote to Robert and sent some photos of Daniella. I will always remember the look on Daniella's face giving her the news that Robert had phoned saying he would love to paint her. She was over the moon the day I introduced her to Robert. Her storey would eventually make the Norwegian national papers.