Thursday, 26 February 2009

Tending Towards Tunnel Vision

This is what happens. I am outgoing, love to talk and see my friends. I like to sit about eating and reading and feeling important and as if I have a handle on things. I go into the studio and do my paintings in between googleing people I know, seeing if anyone has added anything new about me and emailing my friends. I am so busy, I have to dust and do the washing and buy more food and hoover.

Then I get a painting that has a deadline. A big painting and an important deadline. And the people who commission it are exceptionally nice and intelligent. (All of them with lovely skin and hair). Bit by bit I am drawn into the painting. I start by spending hours and hours doing the framework, putting a bit here, a bit there, getting the bricks and pergola right on the house, placing the family all with a merry little hum and much tea and a little jig now and again.

Then I start on the detail. I know I can do faces and people and portraits, so let's just get on with it, I say brightly. I can't do the first face, it doesn't seem to come right (damn) so I go onto the second face and lo. It is perfect. Soon I have done 7 faces and I am sucked into the need to do detail detail detail. I see lack of detail everywhere and the lack of it puts me into a panic and all I can think of is how much I have to do to make this painting worthy of the people who want it. And quite rightly expect the best. I think, I have four weeks. I need about twelve years. I work with tiny brushes on the faces and worry about the bodies and the patterns in the clothes. That comes next. Then I worry about the pergola and how to make it stand structurally and not look like an M C Escher pergola. Then the plants to go on the pergola, I have to find and create them as the pergola has not even been built in the garden yet. Oh oh oh. And the other night I woke with an Eureka moment and wanted to wake Alan and say Alan! It is OK, what I will do with the strip of green grass at the bottom of the painting is put daisies and dandelions in it! Oh what do you think? Oh now I know it will be fine.

I go to do the Mothering and Household things at the last minute now, I am distracted when my tired boys and girl tell me about their day. I think How long have I tomorrow to paint? Should I just pop in now while the baked beans are heating and do a bit more on so-and-so's face?

This then is the state I go into despite having the children, the house, the birthday party here for my daughter's 19th on Sunday, the operation for my youngest boy on Monday to create and fit a new eardrum, the looming CSE's for my other son and all the food shopping I seem to have to do. Oh and I have entered Alan and myself to run a 10k Bognor Regis race on 17 May. So I am training for that. And I have 3 Jesus on the Tubes to do, 2 more angels and an Open Doors Exhibition in May.

I will put a photo of the portraits up soon to show progress. You may still think it is like painting by numbers, but have faith. It will suddenly leap into being and I will come out of my tunnel vision.

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