Sunday, 20 September 2009

Are you having fun?

Thursday 17/09/09

It's sunny and I can finish off the 1st yellow line painting. I put some dark lines on the edge because I haven't got my pencil with me, but I'm not sure I like them. I leave them on anyway.

Later, I set off into town determined to paint the Abbey - afternoon sun on the face of the building, lots of people milling about in front, should be great - but for some reason I never get there.

Painting the bizarre and unexpected is more nerve racking than a busy city street. There's the constant look of puzzlement on the face of passersby and the pressure to justify the subject. I stick to the tried and tested defence of not making eye contact. My angles are all over the place and I know I'm not going to finish the painting today. I leave before the hordes of school children come by - I'm not ready for that yet.

I'm walking back to the studio and a girl (12?) at the bus stop who passed me when I was painting. She says, "Excuse me [polite!], are you an artist?"

I don't think she's really wanting to get into a debate about what is art and who am I to call myself an artist, so, "Yes," I reply, "I am an artist." But it has a hollow ring to it and the words feel odd coming from my mouth.

Friday 18/09/09

I'm dreaming. I'm on a plane. It looks like 1st class because there's loads of space and the seats are all big and comfy. There are lots of people I know, but I can't sit down because they can't make up their minds where they are going to sit and keep changing seats. I feel something under my skin above my appendix scar, it grows and pushes through the surface. It's a seed, like a cardamon pod. It sticks up annoyingly and then others grow up along side it. I brush it away and the pod gently pops and reveals a cottony inside before falling away. It is soon replaced and before long my stomach is like a small field of these things. I keep picking and brushing them off, but they keep growing. There's no panic in my actions, but I wake up anyway and don't get much sleep for the rest of the night.

I walk to the studio with my easel and board. It's a fair old hike lugging the paraphenalia so I've got to make it worth the effort with a painting. I'm thinking of painting the walkway under the railway line, but when I get there it doesn't work for me. The view at right angles to it, though, is just what I need (including the yellow lines). I stand there for about 10 minutes undecided. As yesterday, I'm feeling a bit of pressure in setting up and painting a bizarre place and I need to pysche myself up. Just standing there gets me enough funny looks, so what the hell and I go for it anyway.

The mechanic comes out of the garage. "Are you having fun?" he asks sarcastically.

"Yes, yes I'm having fun," I lie.

The painting seems to go okay. I take a photo just in case I don't finish it because the cars won't be in the same place again, but I'm not sure I'm going to need it. I can hear the radio playing in the garage. I don't know what station it is, but they're playing 'Rio' by Duran Duran.

A lady comes up and peers around the easel. "Ah!" she says, "I know your work, but I don't know you."

Foolishly, I take this as a sign that she maybe want's to make conversation, so she can know me as well as my work and say, "Hi!' to her. But, no. She turns around and walks off without another word.

Hey lady! I like it!

I pack up, but not before Spandau Ballet singing 'Gold', starts floating from the open garage doors behind me. What is that radio station and why are they still on air?

And another Thailand painting for good measure:


  1. suddenly my 'nostril hair of the worst kind' doesn't seem so bad... seriously i'm feeling kind of 'icky' thinking about your plane experience.
    thanks for the birthday wishes bro :) and the spiffy neon pink card...

  2. Yeah - some times there's a down side to drawing in ink, cos they're not really that hairy.