I was about to paint a fine detail on the canvas in the studio the other day. My easel is a little apart from the mob, meaning the 20 or so ladies who come to paint. There are 2 other men wedged in among the women. As I poised the brush over the critical spot a voice said, “Have you got a palette knife I can borrow for a sec?” Without looking up I stretched out my arm, located the palette knife and handed it over. As far as I can remember it was a woman’s voice. She muttered something and I continued trying to get the drop of paint into the roof detail. 

That night I sat up in bed. My palette knife! She never returned it. I didn’t look up when she approached me and I have no idea who she was. My palette knife is missing! I remember the day I bought the knife and much of its history.

It was in 1951. Wow! That’s exactly 60 years ago! I was in first year at university and we needed these knives for a project we were working on. I’ve been using it on and off ever since. It has a wooden handle which is thick with globs of different colored paints. The blade is worn thin with razor sharp edges and has a small chip out of the tip where I once tried to tighten a screw with it.

I remember that it was expensive and in those far off days eight shilling was a tidy sum. My father wasn’t excited about me spending that money either. I went into an art shop, the only one in our city, and my first venture into such an exciting place and timidly explained what I wanted. The knife was handed over and I have treasured it all these years.

Now to find the owner of that voice…