Hooe Lake Series

The paintings shown here are part of a 14 picture series all made on location during February 1992 while the artist and his family lived at 94 Radford Park Road, Plymouth.

Trawler reverting to nature
Trawler reverting to nature

The Paintings

As usual in Plymouth in February the weather was grim n grey.

The boat breakers, Hooe Lake, Plymouth
The boat breakers, Hooe Lake, Plymouth

In their way these paintings are a triumph of the human spirit over grim cold environment reminding us that things are rarely as bad as they look if one looks carefully.

Following a ‘colour revelation’ (see “Red Bales“) the previous summer while studying at at the Painting School of Montmiral in SW France the artist was becoming increasingly frustrated being house bound.

His responsibilities included the safe delivery and collection of his two delightful babe’s to and from school, their evening supper.

His wife used their car to get to and from work so time was almost as limited as February day light.

Fortunately and not to be kept down, the lake was easy easel distance form the artist’s home so well wrapped and snuggled into his sea jacket & ‘oil skin’ trousers (older spelling trowsers) he took on the challenge of weather, time, and light.

The objectives included to see how much colour could be found on the grizzly grey days accompanying photographs reveal.

A further incentive was Plymouth City Council had in their wisdom decided the wrecks were a health hazard, rat infested (not particularly true) so should be broken up.

All were doomed, the French Tunny Men, the oaken Plymouth trawlers, the Scottish ‘Zulu’, the Cornish luggers, the ‘iron men’, tugs that had served the docks…

Only one hull was to be spared, her name largely forgotten, the most difficult to access, her remains are still there today (2015) 100 feet off shore, the old Tamar River sailing barge “Alfred“.

The location

Hooe Lake (sometimes locally called and with good reason, Dolphin Lake) has in it’s time seen more than a few adventures.

The lake was known as Dolphin Lake because inteligent dolphins, formerly a more common sight in Plymouth waters used to ‘herd ‘ mackerell through the narrow deep entrance into Hooe lake.

As the tide fell the luckless mackerell would panic and try to escape, an easy meal for the dolphins waiting at the mouth of the lake.


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Gordon Frickers © updated 05.04.15, 03.11.2017


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