I had a really vivid dream about my Gran the other day. She's been dead for eighteen years, but she inspired me to start painting so I guess its sort of relevant.
We're driving from Weston-Super-Mare to Bristol going home after work. (Note of explanation - I did work with/for my Gran for a short period of time although the journey home was from W-S-M to Bristol, not the other way round.) It's a big 4x4 BMW (reality updated) and she's driving - one hand on the wheel and foot down. There is no road and it's as though we're driving through a construction site. I ask her if anything happened at work that day and she says my Uncle found his watch. (Is this relevant? No idea - I include it for completeness and all psychoanalysts.) Gran has to stop at a petrol station to 'freshen up' (there is a bathroom in the back of the beamer, but it's a bit cramped). We screech across the tarmac miraculously missing the pumps and coming to a perfect stop. While Gran goes for a shower (?!) I go into the shop and down to the basement gift section. The walls are covered with posters of a naked James McAvoy (although he's got a long white beard covering his tackle)...
And that's pretty well where it fades out. I wake up feeling really good (no - nothing to do with James McAvoy ...), the dream was so real that it was like I can still see and talk to her - 18 years (more like 25 since I worked for her) and it's like yesterday, so I guess we all live on in those that remember us. She didn't say anything about my paintings, but that's okay - she died before I really started painting, but I reckon she'd approve.
Scarey - getting a bit deep and profound. Back to some art.
Trying to finish the painting of Great Pulteney Street I spend 30 minutes getting across town just to arrive as it starts to rain. Idiot that I am I have not brought any wet weather gear and the whole event is a write off.
I try again, but this time I'm ready for anything. There's only a little drizzle, but as soon as it starts I'm there with the Ben's Brilliant Perspex Rain Screen (patent pending, BBPRS for short) and there's no problem. I get no interruptions, no car horns, no van man shouts; it's all quiet. All quiet, that is, except for the mosquito that crash lands on the painting. He hits the terrace rooftops on the left where the paint is wet. The odds are stacked against him as he drags one leg after another, climbing up the chimneys. Slowly he labours on and then he's onto the sky and lucky for him he hits a dry patch. Faster now and by the time I turn back to look again, he's gone.
I think I overwork the sky, but sometime's you can't go backwards and the more you try the worse it gets.
I've got the possibility of a commission and I'm walking around town doing some preliminary sketches. I'm totally unobtrusive with just the small sketch book, but I'm concious of choosing a site that I can cope with if I come back for a proper big painting.
During the 1st one a Big Issue seller looks over my shoulder and compliments my perspective. He slaps me on the arm before walking away and my pen skids across the paper. He apologises profusely, but I laugh, I'm not sure it makes any difference to the drawing.
I like the 3rd one, but we'll see.