Monday 24 August 2009

In Training

Friday 21/08/09

Been on holiday, so I'm behind on both the blog and more importantly the painting. I'm getting kind of twitchy cos painting is like anything - if you don't practise then not only are you not going to get any better, but you're going to get worse - think of it as being likely an olympic athlete cos it's just like that - honest.

So now I'm in London for a follow up holiday weekend at the in laws, but I can't leave it any longer and I've brought all my paint gear with me. I want to paint some more Thailand paintings because time is marching on and the whole series is taking forever. I've got to paint outside so that I don't get paint anywhere in the house.

There you have it. I'm in a back garden in Wembley painting a Thailand sunset.

The garden backs onto an Underground line (part of the overground Underground thing) so there are intermittent train rumblings.

There's a small child in the garden next door who insists on screaming. She's not in pain or anything - she obviously just likes screaming. Aaaaaarghh. Aaaaaaarghh. (Very high pitched.)

That's it then. In a back garden in Wembley with trains rumbling past, a little girl screaming, painting the perfect sunset.

Beyond the railway line is a big park and there's a fun fair set up so I get the sounds of the people and the rides drifting over. And the food ... mmmm burgers.

And the bugs - where do they come from? - they seem to like the colour of the painting.

That's the scene. In a back garden in deepest darkest Brent, with trains rumbling past, a little girl screaming (Aaaaaarghh. Aaaaaaarghh. Very high pitched.), all the fun of the fair, dive bombing bugs, painting a sunset in Thailand. Something just feels odd.

Saturday 22/08/09

Got Thailand out of the way for now, time to get back to the plein air thing. Definitely out of shape - think Chris Hoy not riding a bike for a month or two - so while the family visit Hampton Court I set up the other side of the Thames to paint.

I can't get a good angle - the square format works against me and I end up trying to fit the entire ornate palace into a couple square inches. Combine this with the lack of sun and I'm on to a loser. Luckily no one comes by - the fishermen and the campers (not sure where they go to the toilet) on the river bank don't bother me and I blank anyone on a boat.

Damn, damn it just keeps getting worse. I try a few feeble pencil marks, but it doesn't help.

I pack up in disgust.

Sunday 23/08/09

Forget about Chris Hoy, I'm a boxer - you're only as good as your last fight - and I got pasted in the first round yesterday. I've got to get back in the ring - I can't let the last painting just sit there as the pinnacle of my artistic career, it'll eat me up like a canker unless I can expunge it with a masterpiece.

All panicky I look round my father-in-law's garden (still in London). [Aside - what's happening to me? It's a beautiful sunny day - I could drive into the centre and paint any number of magnificent architectural monuments. Surely that's what I should do.]

Bizarrely I settle on an old jar with long since dried orange paint and a couple of encrusted paint brushes. (Bob and weave, bob and weave.)

You know the set up: In a back garden in Wembley, trains rumbling past, little girl screaming (Not so often, but still going. Aaaaaaarghh. Aaaaaaarghh. Very high pitched.), all the fun of the fair and dive bombing bugs. Add to this the searing heat, a perfect blue sky and me painting an old jar - something still feels odd. (Bob and weave, bob and weave.)

A jar, yeah, great idea - lets try a series of perfect circles (Whump! a punch to the head), all neatly aligned (Grunch! a blow to the ribs), overlapping (Whap! a jab to the face) and see through (Whammo - that's it. Cut to slow mo shot of head swivelling, lips swollen and askew as gum shield, spit and blood arc over the ropes. I hit the deck like an easel with two legs and the crowd sits there in stunned silence - could this be the end?)

Maybe it's not that bad. If I squint my eyes I almost quite like it and that's okay isn't it.

Isn't it?

(The flies - don't forget all the dead flies in the bottom of the jar. Maybe I made it to round 2.)

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