The poet/author Robert Graves has been featured here previously. I wrote about his experiences during the Great War and his inclusion in the memorial to the War Poets in Westminster Abbey. As well as being a fascinating character and a wonderful writer, he also has an excellent face: strong chin, full mouth, penetrating gaze, good bones… and so this week I chose to draw the young poet: Robert Graves.
And the photo I used for reference:
It’s four weeks today since I fell and broke the ankle. It feels like four months. I am absolutely hating all the sitting around. For the first two weeks, I had to keep the leg elevated all the time which really kept me stuck in the chair. After the first two weeks, I had the cast off and the stitches out, now the leg is in a boot. At least with the boot, I can take it off to wash and give the leg a little massage. Sleeping in the bulky boot is a challenge, though. The ankle doesn’t hurt anymore and I don’t have to keep it elevated, but I can’t put weight on it, yet. I’ve been doing exercises on the floor so I don’t get too out of shape. I’m used to walking/jogging 3-4 miles a day. I will say this… I’m definitely going to have more upper body strength when this is all through!
I have, however, been making good use of my time. I’m doing some copy editing for another writer and I have started [restarted] working on my WWI novel. I’ve got a series of sketches planned, two of which are completed and one which is in progress. And of course I am reading plenty of interesting research material.
I guess if you try to look on the bright side, this injury happened in January when the weather is miserable and the days are short. By spring time, I should be healed up enough to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and milder temperatures. Well, maybe not sunshine so much… it does rain all the darn time over here. Nonetheless, I have two weeks to go till my next follow up appointment and I’m hoping for a good report. In the meantime, I’m getting around the best I can:
I mentioned when I posted my first sketch, that I’d been inspired by the audio production of the play ‘The Half-life Of Marie Curie’. For my second sketch of the year, I’ve chosen the other character in the play: Hertha Ayrton. While not as well known as her friend, Marie Curie, Hertha Ayrton was a brilliant scientist in her own right. She was a mathematician, physicist and electrical engineer, mind you, in the early 20th century when the field was in its infancy. Because of her study of the characteristics of the electric arc and the resultant improvements in the use of electricity for lighting, she became the first woman to present her own paper before the Institute Of Electrical Engineers. Shortly thereafter, she was invited to become the first female member of the IEE.
Her work with vortices in water inspired the Ayrton Fan –a device which, despite the reluctance of the British War Department to deploy it– was used to dispel poison gas from the trenches in the Western Front during the Great War. Some 100,000 of these fans were used from 1916 over the course of the war.
In September 2019, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson launched The Hertha Ayrton Fund, which is intended to aid developing countries to reduce emissions and meet global climate change goals by giving them access to the latest technologies. I think Hertha Ayrton would be delighted.
Here is my sketch of Hertha Ayrton and the photo I used for reference: