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Even More Doreen Fletcher Paintings

December 11, 2018
by the gentle author

Today, we publish yet more of Doreen Fletcher’s pictures with her commentaries, telling the stories, and revealing the vision behind her painting.

Doreen Fletcher & I will be in conversation, showing slides of her paintings, at the Wanstead Tap on Tuesday 18th December. Click here for tickets

Also, please make an entry in your 2019 diary to join us at the Private View of Doreen Fletcher’s RETROSPECTIVE at Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts, on 24th January from 6pm. The exhibition runs until March 24th 2019.

Bartlett Park, Poplar, 1990

“The isolation of the building and the smoke that frequently drifted up from the chimney inspired me to paint this. It was a place I passed whenever I took a shortcut to Chrisp Street Market. Months of experiment were required to find the right shade of white for the plume of smoke. I exhibited the painting under the misnomer ‘Suzannah Street’. But twenty years later, when I met Steve who became my husband, he said, ‘Oh that’s Bartlett Park, named after the head of St Saviour’s where my dad went to school.’”

Pubali Cafe, Limehouse, 1996 (coloured pencil)

“When I first moved to the East End, I was intrigued by this cafe. It was always open but no-one seemed to go inside. A small thin man stood motionless behind the counter or sat eating a plate of curry at a table. I succumbed to temptation and entered with my partner. We ordered coffee and it was the worst I ever tasted. This was a foggy Saturday in January 1985 with the sun trying to break through. There was a lull in the traffic and I heard a rumbling boom like thunder. A bomb planted by the IRA had exploded at Tower Bridge and the sound carried down Commercial Road. I never returned to the cafe.”

Doreen has produced a limited edition print of the Pubali Cafe available here

Popcorn Stand at the Wakes, Mile End Park, 1994

“At the age of six, my parents too me on holiday to Rhyl which had a pleasure beach that became especially atmospheric and magical at dusk. Thus began my life long attraction to funfairs and I have been drawn to them ever since.

When I moved to Mile End in 1983, I was delighted to discover the funfair came regularly to the park, just where the new football pitch and stadium are these days. I did quite a few coloured pencil drawings of it over the years even though I cannot stand the taste of popcorn.”

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Hot Dogs, Mile End Park, 1993 (coloured pencil)

“I was attracted to draw the hot dog stall because to me it embodied the excitement of eating ‘on the hoof’ while wandering around dropping money into the bottomless pit of amusement at Mile End Fun Fair. For a moment my life was elevated by the expectation of something big about to happen, even if afterwards I would return home with feelings of deflation.

This fun fair always came to Mile End Park at Easter, Whitsun and August Bank Holiday. I never went on any rides but was tempted to play fruit machines. I also loved a game of pinball and became very good at it for a while.”

Leslie’s, Turners Rd, Stepney, 1983 (pencil)

I went to Leslie’s Grocers in 1983 when I arrived in the East End. It became my local shop while I was living in damp back room with peeling wallpaper on the third floor of 29 Turners Rd. A bachelor named Ray ran it following the death of his mother.

I remembered was dismayed to discover Ray sold such a limited range of goods – only powdered coffee or bottled camp coffee, white sliced bread and margarine but not butter. Ray moaned a lot to me about the lack of customers yet there was little to entice anyone into the shop.

Eventually Ray gave up. His heart was not in retail. Instead he moved into a one bedroom, ground floor flat near Chrisp Street on account of his gammy leg and his shop transformed into the headquarters of the local squatters’ association. Meanwhile, I was relieved to move into an ACME housing association house round the corner and travelled further afield to buy proper coffee.

I depicted Leslie’s Grocers in a painting as well as in this drawing. The painting was sold long ago and I have no photograph of it, nor can I recollect who the purchaser was. But perhaps my drawing better summarises the atmosphere of the shop.”

Canary Wharf at Twilight, 1992

“This is an exceptional subject for me. I do not usually paint new buildings because their absence of character holds no interest for me. Yet as I observed Canary Wharf rising, I felt compelled to record the transformation in my familiar environment. On Friday 9th February 1996, this painting was on display in the window of a gallery nearby when the IRA detonated a truck bomb at South Quays. Two people were killed, many injured and my painting was lucky to survive. The blast shattered the window and shards of glass scarred the surface, causing the paint to flake off in places yet not piercing the canvas.”

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CLICK HERE TO ORDER A SIGNED COPY OF DOREEN FLETCHER’S BOOK FOR £20

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. December 11, 2018

    Wonderful paintings. Doreen really deserves the success she is experiencing now. Valerie

  2. Anne Myserian permalink
    December 11, 2018

    I’m so glad to be able to see these paintings, especially with Doreen’s comments. Only wish I could attend the events at Wanstead Tap and the Nunnery Gallery!

    Anne (from Boston, MA)

  3. Christine permalink
    December 11, 2018

    Definately going to make the effort to go up to London for the PV in January. I’ve enjoyed seeing them on social media, can’t wait to see them in person.

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