Saturday 25 July 2009

Good News, Bad News

Thursday 23/07/09

Bath Art Fair - despite being for charity, it's got a bad rep - there's no selection policy and the hanging is rubbish so it looks like a jumble sale (I've never seen it - just what I've been told). Anyway, this year thought I'd give it a go and put one painting in - just to see. That was last week and today I wander down to Queen Square to have a look at the show.

I get there only to find the square empty - the marquee that was the art fair has gone and it's as if it had never been. Hang on ... What? Oh no - think I might have screwed up.

I get home to find the bumff - how could I not have noticed that the fair was only on for three days? And, what's this, storage of uncollected paintings is charged at £10/day - that's £40 I've got to pay for the privilege of having my picture badly hung in a tent. Damn! Damn! Double damn! And get this - I phone up to arrange collection and they can't now find my painting and can they get back to me tomorrow!! £50 - you've got to be kidding me.

I spend the night cursing and stewing, stewing and cursing. The end of July and the biannual tax bill is fast approaching and I've just thrown away £40. AAAARGHH £10/day - it's outrageous. Oooo I'm livid.

I don't tell Yolanda.

Friday 24/07/09

They don't phone me back and I build up a head of steam over the storage charge - I didn't get where I am today by paying £10/day storage. Grrrr.

I phone, she's been busy, can she call me back. Grrrr.

Yes? What? You've sold it?! Wahey!

It's too late now, I've been building up for too long and despite no longer being faced with the storage charge I feel the need to vent. It's then that the lady explains that they are a charity with only a small office and before they had the charge, hundreds of paintings would get left uncollected. Oh well, yes, of course I understand and anyway thanks for selling it ... er ... goodbye.

Back to normal Friday prattling - the weather isn't working for me so I cheat and paint a bit of the Southgate painting in the studio - going for the luminous green of the builders' vests. I do some pencil marks on it. Shall I write on it? What should I say? I um and ah for a bit before writing the title in the bottom left corner - Under Construction. I um and ah a bit more before adding quotation marks. For some reason, it makes a difference and then I don't like them, but it's too late, they'll have to stay.

Is it finished?

Not sure.

Is it going to win?

Who knows?

And, just so you don't think I'm not doing much of anything, here are the 1st three Thailand paintings.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Wet and Wobbly

Thursday 16/07/09

Yeah, see, I thought if I did these line drawings enough I'd sort of start getting better. Some hope.

Friday 17/07/09

Had a first go on Wii Fit the other day (if you haven't you should cos it's good - subject to the following reservations on its ability to add up). It's the art of wobbling (or not) about on a board and with a confidence borne of knowing my bmi as independently verified and certificated by the BIOBANK I confidently took to the board and wobbled (or not) in front of a crowd of partisan family members. Oh the shame, oh the travesty, oh the ridicule by said formerly supportive crowd as the software churns out a 'Wii fit age' of 52!! Pah! What's the good in wobbling (or not) on a board anyway?! Surely it's much better to play 5-aside football in the pouring rain in a butch and hearty kind of way?

Maybe the board knows more than I think as after the 15 min wobble work out I was already feeling some sort of burn (maybe it was just wind) and after football yesterday I'm once again walking into town to paint with legs all stiff and achy (at least we won).

It's grey and miserable (the weather, the painting and the artist all combining in a symphony of grey and miserableness). I've got the wet weather gear incorporating my dad's old raincoat that he generously donated to the cause. It's green and combined with the brown trousers and the white tilley hat I think I'm looking explorer like, but probably not the good guy as I don't look cool enough - in an Indiana Jones type movie, you'd be thinking I'm going to bite the bullet before the end - maybe when the rope bridge gets cut, or the truck explodes, or ... anyway ... where was I ...

Back to this painful painting and the weather. It's been so long since I started the thing that the shop is no longer empty and is busy trying to flog overpriced rustic design against the tide of recession - we'll see, but I'm not holding my breath. I try painting from a different spot to avoid blocking the window, but it's no good, so I move back and try to nestle between the gift shop and the curry house next door which sort of works.

It starts to rain, good and proper, but with the wet weather gear I can keep going for a while - I get soaked, but the painting moves forward. I can't believe I got all my angles so wrong and I end up repainting most of it - it's still not right, but it's getting better.

The zip doesn't work properly on the coat - aha! that's why he palmed it off on me - and it smells of my dad, which isn't a bad thing - it's not stinky or anything - it's just one of those smells of home that take you back to your childhood, probably emphasised by the wetness of it all. It's all slightly surreal - standing painting in the pouring rain, smelling of my dad.

Saturday 11 July 2009

Slow Blog Day

Thursday 09/07/09

Nothing to show for my work today - it's all prep for future paintings and other boring studio stuff - but for the sake of something to post and because I blogged about them way back, I can put up the images of the paintings I did for the commission of Prior Park college. The gift has been given and there's no more secrecy:

Oh yeah, guess what else? Last night I had a dream in which I had a hair growing on (not in) my ear that was over two metres long and dangled behind me trailing on the floor. I was not very happy with any of my family for not telling me and it proved very difficult to cut off. When I finally got the bugger and it lay on the floor it turned out to be not one hair, but a whole damn bunch of them - all of which had been sprouting off my ear.

Slow blog day or what?!

Friday 10/07/09

A bit of brightness in the morning and I can work on the down town Southgate painting. It's still a struggle with so much going on and a long list of issues:
  1. They've moved the orange barriers along slightly;
  2. I haven't got a green paint that can capture the flourescent jackets the builders are wearing;
  3. The dumper truck is no longer in position, replaced by a big green digger;
  4. I need something on the left of the picture - I had toyed with a big bus, but in the end chicken out and put a car in;
  5. Someone kicks the easel, but that probably goes without saying (that along with the PB question which I haven't listed, but have ended up mentioning again anyway - duh!). If I've learnt one thing painting on the streets, it's that no matter where you place the easel or how wide the pavement, someone will kick it. It's an unwritten law of plein aire painting or something.

Saturday 4 July 2009

That old self doubt thing

Wednesday 01/07/09

Chucked out of the Threadneedle Prize and with paintings not selling on the gallery wall and whaddayano - whammo - Doubt creeps up on me and slaps me in the mush. Good old Doubt - you know you can count on him. Why did I even write that on the painting? What's with that rubbishy edge thing? That old Doubt - he know's all the right questions to stick the knife in.

So, on Sunday, it was the big reveal for THE BATH PRIZE (where the organisers tell you which bit of Bath you've got to paint for the competition). Now, bearing in mind the blurb ("designed to stimulate new work celebrating the glory of a World Heritage City") I'm expecting Pulteney Bridge maybe, or the Royal Crescent, or maybe just somewhere where a tourist would choose to go. HA! No, my designated painting assignment is ... wait for it ... Southgate Shopping Centre!?!?

What? But I thought ... but, ...

Still, I have to laugh - I don't mind the subject - it's an opportunity to get all WW, but all the same, it's a bit of a curve ball.

So, Southgate Shopping Centre and Doubt - a pretty heady cocktail. I spend the afternoon prepping the board, (so there's no painting to post) with the big D gnawing away at me.

In the evening it's the fabled Brain of Bath quiz and I'm on one of the teams. Get that. I don't answer many questions, but I do learn some stuff. Not least of all is the fact that the memory doesn't function better on beer and the last few rounds I'm a definite liability. I still can't believe I got Thin Lizzy and Led Zepplin muddled up. Damn - once that bugger Doubt starts messing with you.

Thursday 02/07/09

I wake up in a blinding light of revelation. I've sweated out the big D in a fever of humidity and tangled sheets and it all becomes so obvious. The Southgate Shopping Centre. The big unfinished building site at the bottom of town - it's perfect for the unfinished painting look. Finished on one side and getting lost in nothingness (or maybe a few pencil lines) on the left. Can you see it? Can you see what I did there?

Also - good things about the place I am painting:
  1. Shadey (again);
  2. Only one person asks me if I'm Peter Brown;
  3. A little girl peers around the pillar I'm standing next to and asks me lots of painting questions: do you paint the buildings? do you paint everything? they can be tricksey can't they? I have to stop painting and lean down to talk to her, but she's sweet and I make the effort. Her mum comes out of the bus station and the girl says, 'look mummy a painter', but mummy's got other things on her mind and drags her away.
  4. A guy comes up and says he is the project manager for the development and that they might be interested in the painting. He even gives me a card. The developers are called 'Multi'. I've painted a lot of pictures in Bath, but it takes a painting of Southgate Shopping Centre to get my best lead on a sale - go figure. Let's hope the Man from Multi, he say yeah.
Bad things:
  1. Can't stand exactly where I want without constantly opening the automatic door to the bus station behind me;
  2. It's a long way from the Studio so it's quite a hike to get here;
  3. A group of builders start talking to me, just as I get some sweat in my eyes. With both my hands full I can't do anything about it. They're asking me questions and I'm trying to answer, but I can't really think about anything other than the fact that I look like I'm crying.

Friday 03/07/09

It's windy today, which makes me Mr Grumpy from Grumpleton. I don't seem to move the painting on very much which makes me even more sour. I don't make eye contact with anyone. I didn't get where I am today by making eye contact with anyone.