THE sight of 1,000 boats proceeding down the River Thames as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant will remain in people’s minds for years to come.
For Milden artist David Porteus-Butler, Sunday’s flotilla is not only etched in his memory but also on the canvas propped on his easel.
The 66-year-old braved the rain to join 20 other artists from across the UK on Millennium Bridge in London to paint the fleet of vessels in a variety of artistic mediums and styles.
“There was a tremendous atmosphere and there was a sea of faces and flags with red, white and blue predominating,” said Mr Porteus-Butler, who is an oil painter and carries out his craft using a palette knife.
“It was extraordinary to see and there was such a buzz of excitement. It was one of those life events that I’ll always remember.”
He added that it was “unbelievable” to be involved in the Thames pageant – the scale of which has not taken place since 1662 – having only taken up painting full-time a decade ago after previously running a clothing design business in Sudbury.
“I am so used to being in the studio and suddenly I was on the bridge with artists, the media and all the hype. It reminded me of being in the fashion industry,” he said.
Mr Porteus-Butler, who has seen his work exhibited at numerous well-known galleries across the country, including Mandell’s Gallery in Norwich, said his only disappointment about the day was failing to get his painting finished.
“It was wet and that made things very difficult,” he said.
“The rain was so heavy as the flotilla turned up that it was impossible to carry on and there was water running off the face of the canvas.
“It means I will have to finish it off at my studio.”
Mr Porteus-Butler said he would like to produce another painting of the scene for the charity Save the Children and had his fingers crossed the Queen could continue for 10 more years so he could take part in a similar event.
“Everything went so smoothly – it was perfection,” he said.
Once the painting is complete, it will go on show with the BBC, although it is yet to be confirmed where.
ONE TO REMEMBER: Artist David Porteus-Butler puts the finishing touches to his painting of the flotilla.