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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Ever had one of those days?

Have you ever had one of those days when you should have listened to that little voice in your head telling you to have a day off? I had one of those days yesterday. I'm not going to bore you with the details as to what put me into that mood - it's a long story - but here's what happened to me when I didn't take my own advice.

Driving over to my dads house (I have my studio there) I knew my mood was low. The journey took longer than normal (traffic), the weather was depressing (cold and damp) and I didn't have a painting in mind so I was unsure what I was going to do when I got there.

After arriving and having a cup of tea with my dad I went to the studio, tidied up and did some paperwork . I knew I was procrastinating so I forced myself to lay out some paints on my palette. Feeling monumentally uninspired, I settled on painting the view from the window, believing that if nothing else it was at least good practice. The overcast weather ensured there were no strong contrasts and the winter greens and browns of the gardens that I could see from the window were all muted and close toned.

I grabbed an abandoned canvas and drew the image with charcoal. I worked sight size. Even this seemed difficult. Correction followed correction until the canvas was a confusion of lines and patches of colour from the previous painting. In order to cover the canvas quickly, I tried to block in the basic tones using thick paint (to cover the previous image). This is fine when it works but as the canvas quickly becomes loaded with paint it makes subsequent alterations more difficult. As you can probably guess I decided that these first statements were wrong and so more paint was applied - lots more (don't ask me why I didn't scrape it off!). Before long I was floundering around in a swamp of oily paint. The 'zone' was never reached but I pushed on to the end regardless, determined to get some kind of result.

Would you like to see the picture? Well you can't - having decided to blog about the difficulties of this particular painting I went to grab my camera bag from my car and, not realising that I hadn't fastened the bag, watched hopelessly as the bag swung open and my Nikon dropped to the floor, lens first (lens now in kit form). With hindsight, considering this event in the context of the day, this was inevitable.

The moral of this tale should be apparent. Painting is seldom easy. Some days though it is near impossible and any attempt doomed to failure. If your inner voice tells you that it is one of those days do something else!

In case I don't get chance to post again I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I've got to go now. I need to alter my Christmas list to include a new Nikkor 18 - 55mm zoom lens - Santa are you listening?


Blogger René PleinAir. said...

Ow how sad, .. sorry to hear of that lens.

Yeah one of those days, ... usually you work, but more in a unconscious way. I mean for me it's often a sign of getting over a new threshold, ... unconscious working you way over it.

I wish you and yours some happy days Keith.

Take care,

17 December 2008 at 11:14  
Blogger Marc R. Hanson said...

I feel for you Keith. Hope Santa heard you.

Your are so right though. That inner voice is SO important to us in so many ways... for the positive and the negative. I'm sure ( in my case anyway ) that you are relating an experience that many, many of us have gone through and continue to encounter from time to time.

Thanks for reminding me that the inner voice should be acknowledged.

NOW... Get back on that 'art' horse ASAP and dazzle us.

Merry Christmas!

17 December 2008 at 16:04  
Blogger René PleinAir. said...

Hahahaha Marc you're soo bad!

Thanks for the laugh.

17 December 2008 at 19:27  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks Rene, thanks Marc,

Now the paint has dried I've been able to tidy things up a bit - it aint going to win any prizes but it's not the total disaster I thought.

The camera however is another story - £150 for a new lens OUCH!

18 December 2008 at 10:36  
Blogger Bill Guffey said...

Hi Keith. I've had way too many of those days. Like the ones where you walk around looking for that plein air spot. And you walk. And walk. Set up finally. Don't paint anything from that spot. Move to another. Get your feet wet. Invite a couple of ticks to hitchhike on your leg. Go home with no painting.

But it feels so good the next time you do actually paint something, and it's good.

Merry Christmas. Hope Santa is listening about the lens. ;)

18 December 2008 at 12:19  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks Bill,

I know what you mean! There is always that nagging doubt that the view round the next bend will just be that little bit better - but it seldom is.

Keep up the great work, Merry Christmas

18 December 2008 at 15:22  
Blogger Marilyn M. King said...

So sorry Keith. If Santa doesn't respond, then maybe you can find something "used" on ebay with a smaller price tag. I'm sure it was one of those slow motion moments.
It feels good (better) to share your experience or story on a blog, doesn't it? Very cathartic.
Merry Christmas!

19 December 2008 at 03:13  
Blogger Keith said...

thanks Marilyn,

you are so right - a trouble shared and all that!

19 December 2008 at 20:42  

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