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.

Monday 23 February 2009

All Things Are Well and All Manner Of Things Are Well

Brian O'Gorman and His Family at the Santa Croce Yacht Club

This is oil on board and is about 18"x 24" and is framed. I loved painting this, the childrens' poses and the colours of the sea and rocks and sand. The photo makes the painting a bit distorted, the real thing is very energetic and balanced. Like me, really.

I worked all day yesterday and made huge progress with the Ross Painting. I will work on the faces again today, but there is so much to be done. so much detail, and the detail makes the painting work. It is the Magic that I get so excited about. There are all the people, their poses, their clothes, the garden, the pergola, the foliage, the house, the bricks (got the bricks sorted,they are still exciting). All these things to be detailed about. And the attributes - the items that each family member has to describe who they are, painted around them.

Today is a bitty day, one child at school, one child outraged because the inset day he thinks should happen hasn't happened and so he can't get out of bed he is so furious that the college didn't think of an inset day today. Another child is on her way back from London and will be here soon. I have many calls to make, and a maths class to take Furious Son to later. And of course all the calls to college and school to tell them what is happening.

But tomorrow evening I go to Alan's for the evening and that is something to look forward to in this rather stressful day to day life of a Mum, an Artist and a Person. Alan is wonderful. Alan is really really wonderful.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Back to Studio Stuff (with a Little Update on How Things Are)

I won't be in the studio much today. I have a busy day with friends and appointments, and for the next few days I will be elsewhere than here in my wonderful studio.

I am taking some steps to make my path easier. It will involve talking, listening and eventually some confrontation which I hate but will do. On the whole I have everything. It isn't possible to move up a notch in your life without having the opposite forces pull you down, just to make sure you both know you are moving on and to make sure you appreciate it when you are there. There is much to keep me going on every level, and it is quite a lesson in thought management to remember how much you do have when confronted with crises that sweep away your confidence. What I do have makes it possible to accept and deal with and move away from things that make me afraid and want to hide.

Oh but I will do some Angels today at some point. And make a small pretty bag to put things in in my bathroom. And I will do some Squares of Happiness and I will sit in the studio and see what comes up. I won't be doing the Ross pianting till Sunday now, and the Jesus on the Tube for the pretty American lady and her family is all laid out and ready to start. I may do some of that, but I think it is really time to play today.

I am training for a 10k race here on 17 May. I am so excited, and here is an announcement. I am bored stiff of dieting. I am moving on from Weight Watchers and running off into the bright blue yonder.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Here are a Few Thoughts on the Theme of Betrayal.

It is a general view on the nature of Betrayal and you should be sure I am fine and this is just thinking.

For a News and Views from an Artist's Studio, we are really into and stretching the Views part. I will follow with News later.

If you feel betrayed, on what scale do you measure it? The feeling of betrayal is very consuming and doesn't have to have much logic to it. Does it bring up some unresolved personal issue that is waiting to show itself in the guise of betrayal, which needs attention and assumes the mantle of betrayal? How many variations are there. There is the small which makes you take a deep breath. There is the medium which makes you angry and upset and you either have it out with your betrayer or you walk away. There is the big which makes you disbelieve it and wonder at your own worth that you should have made such a betrayal possible. That one is hard to deal with because it is difficult to find words to make sense of your panic. The betrayer has done the betraying. You are trying to make sense of it in your world and your understanding of theirs.

Feeling betrayed takes away my strength. It makes me doubt my intelligence. Most betrayals
make me want to withdraw. I would rather not deal with it, it means I have to understand both my reaction and the facts of the act of betrayal. That is hard, it may be very hard to hear that the betrayal is a result of circumstances that include your behaviour too.

News from the studio is that it is exciting to paint here. I have a bunch of Valentines flowers on my table and that makes me so happy. My Jesus on the Tube is coming along. Today, friends, today, I shall paint a few faces on the Ross painting. Beneath the Pergola which is now not an insoluble problem. As is life. Not an insoluble problem. Today's nugget is that I am addicted to tea with black molasses sugar in it. It answers all the needs a cup of tea with black molasses sugar can address.

Monday 16 February 2009

A Difficult Day But Nothing I Can't Handle

I am laying out my new Jesus on the Tube for my lovely American family. They are not only a good looking bunch but have very artistic and interesting hearts too. Three little children, mum and dad, dog and cat.

Today is difficult because my foundations have been rocked. I won't go into it here but it has made me aware that human beings have so much to overcome if they are to learn and move forward. It is easy to succumb to pressure and make other people happy if that is what they want. It is hard if what they want is bad for you but very good for them. And they want you to do what makes them feel better whatever it is and whatever the consequences because they are very unsound themselves and it is better that you do what they want than expose them to themselves by saying No.

So today I have to say No to someone. To three people today and one later when I can. For this reason my hands are shaking when I am doing my Jesus on the Tube and my heart is beating fast. I don't expect to be understood but I will state my case anyway.

There are no paintings on the blog today. It is a difficult day and I will get through to bedtime tonight.

I love my bed. It is red and has white fluffy cushions on it. It has other cushions I have made out of pretty dress material in pinks and greens - vibrant tones and shades and full of warmth and colour. There is a magenta Indian curtain with little mirrors in it across the red duvet cover, and my curtains are made from magenta silky material and matching net stapled together by my cousin Marlayna who knows just what I want and need. I have earrings hanging from lampshades and other rimmed surfaces for easy access to my ears, and my other jewelery is hanging openly on hooks on the wall. Above my bed I have my prized Susie Scott paintings, commissioned to exactly my recommendations and painted by Susie in true and perfect Susie style. I also have my first Square of Happiness in the wall. It replaces all the photos I now don't want on my walls.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Some Angels. And I Am So Tired.

If you click on any of my paintings here they become big and you can see the detail.

A green Angel with a Frog. 6"x 4" oil on canvas.

An Angel with Books. 6"x 4" oil on canvas

I am so tired today that I am going to fall on my Ross House and snooze my way through the day.

I do have some Jesus on the Tubes to do, perhaps I shall plan the first one at another table in the studio. That is sitting down work and very particular whereas the Ross one is 3' long and 2' wide and I stand up for it. I stand to attention.

Actually, through my fug of weariness yesterday I opened an invitation to run the Bognor Regis 10k and I thought, OK. I'll do it. It is on 27 May so I have 3 months to shape up a bit. I can't even stagger to the kitchen at the moment, so the 10k will be a triumph.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Honeymoon Painting and Pergola Problems.

Here is the Honeymoon painting.

The scenery is a mixture of Norway and Scotland, and created by Cate and Jeremy who's honeymoon it is. It is about 16"x 16" and painted in oils on wood. It will be framed though it is painted to hang without too. Cate and Jeremy have their walking sticks on the ground before them and their rucksacks next to them.

The Pergola Problem is this. I have to paint a pergola that is not yet built and I have no proper image of it. I cannot print one off from the company website and the prospectus I ordered doesn't show the pergola I need. Options are - 1. Search for a similar one online and construct 2. Ask the Rosses if they really need it 3. Work it out somehow from the bits I already have.

I will do 1 and 3 today and use 2 as a last resort. You will be glad to know that the bricks are done and jolly nicely done too. Pergolas today. At some point when there is enough background, I will put in the 8 portraits and the painting will come alive. Yes. This is fun.

Briefly, about breakfasts on Wednesdays. Wednesday is weigh in at weight watchers so as a reward I always go mad with breakfast afterwards. I get weighed at 10am and by 11am I am sitting sated and smug in my chair in the studio, like Desperate Dan after his cow pie, licking my lips and saying "F'lup", the flotsam and jetsom of a large indulgent breakfast on my desk and on the floor around me.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Tuesday. Life In Here is Shaped by Life Out There.

The bricks are exciting, they are at the fun stage. Next, the structure of the windows and doors. Whoo whoo.

I come in here to work and be whimsical, to be creative, to be thoughtful, to be Antonia. There is so much going on outside this studio, so much in every day life with the people who live in the house with me (the children) and with treasured friends who live their own minute by minute lives full of Things and Stuff. Today I am in my studio, with my boiler suit on, covered head to toe in Correct Attire, and full of thoughts and worries about other things to do with life outside this hut.

I had to wade through water to get here, my garden is a pond. In here I have my tea - and today I chose a black and white spotty mug which suits the day. In here, I think - my son's shoes are wet from yesterday, and he will not wear them so he is hair drying them. How long will that take, why when he is about to go to school does he have to do this, what do I tell the school? I am on standby to take him aged 15 to school through the floods by car, he has missed the bus, when he should have gone and I should have my endless time stretching before me here in my studio. I am on standby for when the shoes have been hairdried dry. Then, I am full of love and worry about some friends who are suffering and want to make their world good again. Not possible, not possible, but I love them and want to be in charge of making everything better than ever for them.

My daughter is still ill in bed, but is well able to look after herself and my other son is at school wanting to come home.

For these reasons, the fact that the bricks on the Ross House have reached the fun stage is possibly the studio knowing I need some encouragement and handing me something easy to do while I let all the other stuff settle.

I wonder if my son has melted his shoes and has to have the day off school because of it.

Monday 9 February 2009

Is It Possible To Maintain Enthusiasm After Breakfast

I find the anticipation of breakfast so exciting, that I have to tell myself that when breakfast is over there is still hope. I can do the same about lunch, a little later on.

My breakfast is a pot of tea and something to eat - weight watcher stuff as I am aiming to lose another 7lb to make it 2 stone -in my pre-heated studio while anticipating the painting jobs ahead. When the breakfast is over, I have to do the painting jobs ahead. Then it is only the thought of lunch that makes me feel I can do it.

This is heightened on Monday mornings. By Friday I can have breakfast at 11am and not fall apart.

Today. Today I will put bricks on the Ross House. I will dedicate the day to the Ross painting and let it all happen. My day today though, is punctuated by a sick daughter in bed, a son that needs collecting and then taking somewhere and then collected again. And then there is more food, as my kids eat for Britain. I have to buy some, and chat with the kids in the evening. Later I will come back in here, about 8pm and stay till about 9pm if the light is not too draining.

When I get the Honeymoon Portrait from Eileen Rafferty ( who photographed it, along with three of the six little angels, I will put them up here. All was well received on Friday, and I am very glad.

Off to the Ross House, my tea and the thought of Lunch only a few hours away. Go go go.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Angels and Squares of Happiness

Here are two Squares of Happiness. They are painted to bring contentment, happiness, joy, whatever your need as you look at it. These examples were painted for the recipients and the background colour chosen to echo their needs right now. The shape of the flower-holder is important as are the flowers. These daisy like flowers work for the two ladies who have these Squares of Happiness. The canvases are only about 12"x 12". Oils.

It is an utterly simple idea, full of the energy of brightness and positivity. Each Square is created for the recipient, and is wonderful because of its simplicity. It is Art Therapy in Action!
I wonder what it would mean if we were wonderful because of our simplicity. Maybe we are. Maybe some are and some are not. Simplicity may be deeply intelligent and powerful, far beyond our first reaction to the word. Simple and not stupid. Simple and not boring. Simple and educated. Simple and independant. I suppose being complex is fascinating too, though there is a lot to maintain if one is complex. A lot to work on if one is being simple. A lot to think about all round. So the Squares of Happiness are simple and profound. How about that.

A Square of Happiness for Lucy Martin
A Square of Happiness for Olivia Pemberton

While I am about it, here is a large Angel if Red Evening Dress. About 2' tall. There has another angel to go with it and both hang on a wall in a Red Themed Sitting Room in a house in London.

I am painting three Angels today. These are while the Ross Family House dries so I can start on a bit more detail. The pretty lady in Connecticut has sent the photos for me to start on her Jesus on the Tube with her family, so that is always exciting. I made up a Job Bag for it this morning. That is, before each commission starts I make an evelope with all the pictures, correspondance and information concerning the new painting. There are two boxes in the studio, one for commissions completed and one for commissions ongoing. There is a list on the wall of commissions pending, getting to the job bag stage means we have Done the Deal and the painting is on its way to creation.

Monday 2 February 2009

Yum. Happiness is a Pot of Tea

Monday and the week is ahead. I can make anything I want of it, it is either productive or unproductive.

Honeymoon painting was well received, and the Angels were well received. More Angels today for delivery on Thursday. When I get the photo of the Honeymoon Couple in Scottish Landscape, I will put it on here.

And the Ross Portrait which is at the moment a portrait of the house.

And a Jesus on the Tube to follow up for a lovely American family in Connecticut. And said lady has lovely hair. Love doing hair.

How are things today? Everything is possible, I can do the work, but I feel nervous. It is often like this, I make my life as I go along, and I have the choice to make it good or make it bad. So today, when I am nervous, going into the house to read and potter feels a good thing to do but - we know it is not. So I will start gently today and put some flowers in the studio to remind me of beautiful things just for me, and pick up my brushes and go.

I am adding a picture of a family I did in the Summer, just had the photo back. Photography by Eileen Rafferty of She is GOOD.

This is a local family in the front part of the house, and yes it is painted this blue. It is a wonderful colour for a house, especially in the Summer. The painting is oil on wood and is about18"x 18".

Bye for now, I will be a serious straight faced rather dreamy artist today, moving quietly and getting much done. And saying very profound things when asked questions.