Wednesday, 25 August 2010

O Rose thou art sick

I've been painting flowers, something I haven't done for a couple of years. I'd forgotten how quickly they change, coming into full bloom and then losing vitality and falling. That's to be expected, and the different types take different times - the sweet peas brought by a visitor lasted three days, if that. Even roses change every few hours, going through a process when you think they've opened fully but they continue to get bigger.

This makes painting them difficult to fit into an already busy schedule. Last time I did a series of flower sketches I used to come home from work reasonably early to catch a couple of hours of light, it being high summer. At the moment my painting practice is more to do an hour or so several days a week.

I quite like the idea that if something unexpected turns up I can rearrange my schedule to paint it before it disappears. The practice was a bit different, as I ran out of time with the roses and am going to have to finish them from a photograph. With both of these pictures I started with a very quick charcoal outline and painted some rough colours in to cover the whole canvas. Then when I returned the next day I could get more detail - working with the fact that the flowers had changed drastically overnight. Another time it might make more sense to get a more detailed alla prima painting done on day one, and maybe even several colour sketches over several days, but as I said, I am still a bit out of practice.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


It's great in my head...
I can write.
I can't write.
I can write.
I can't write.
I wonder if I've got any email?
I can't write.
I can write.
I'm going to put the kettle on.
... and so on.

I am currently trying to finish a novel draft. The first ten or so chapters were more or less OK, bar a few minor continuity errors; the next five were just about hanging together as a coherent development of what went before. The final five: a random slurry of unconnected incidents, with a few notes here and there saying, "FIX this!" or, "Did that happen yet?" and so on. All of which messes with my always-fragile confidence.

And NaNoWriMo is only a few months away - and one of my ideas had to do with a resurrected Frida Kahlo hosting a gameshow. Maybe better pick one of the other six?

At least I can more or less paint at the moment, if technical exercises involving flowers counts as painting.