St Abb's National Reserve

St Abb's National Reserve
View from my office

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I went to the beach this morning. My partner has been in the water 3 or 4 times over the last few days- the surf appearing after months of flat sea.

I have been busy, or asleep, and in no mood to haul my carcass to the shore to paint before now; 9.15am is hardly the dawn patrol, either.

I need to get down the coast on a sunny morning while there is swell; I have been commissioned and await a window of opportunity- like catching a wave, really; waiting for the right kind of wave, at the right point of maturity, to lift me up and carry me along.

In the meanwhile I warmed up; battering a few bits of oil paper, the tide retreating, mocking my efforts to keep up with its progress.

I looked down at the dazzling, purple geraniums on the dune and considered tackling a subject that doesn't move around so much.

I have to use the medium- oil gets away from me, has a will of its own, or at least a character that is not so personable as acrylic; which says, 'okay, you want me to be watercolour? I'll try my best.' or 'Impasto? You got it!'

Oil has been around the block. It doesn't need to prove itself. It says 'Look at these babies-' pigments glossy with oil, smells evokative of age-old tradition, secret recipies; of alchemy.

Oil does not bend to my will. I have made a deal and must respect its qualities, notice the glutinous sprawls of air-pocked white that want to be the lacy trails behind the breakers. I must measure my thinners and potions, or lose connection with the paint.

It wants to be involved in my process; suggests; points out; demands.

It mocks my yearning to pin down precise little lines of neat waves, shouting 'Look!' As a monster slaps its black hand on the shore and a comb of almost tropical-tinged water arcs momentarily, before disappearing forever.

I've come home to lick my wounds; to have it out, in the studio, with a docile, obedient photograph- one of my concerns, at least, biddable to my will.

I must get back, also ,to my garden project.

Natasha's garden having sprouted away alarmingly since my last visit.

Maybe it's me, who is standing still too long.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Art Tour Invitation

The Open Studios Event organised by 'Network' has already begun for alot of artists.
My own event doesn't start till the 22nd of June.
I realised, this morning, I hadn't actually sent leaflets to my mailing list.
Details, details.
At least I've new work to show.
Follow the distinctive yellow-and-black signage through the village to studio 54.
Belford is between Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Alnwick, on the A1.
follow the signs to 21 West St.
Opening hour 11am till 5pm

Saturday, 7 June 2008

As 'Art Tour' draws ever closer, my ability to concentrate diminishes; I flit form one job to another, hovering briefly before going to another more pressing task.

Whether it is clearing the ground floor, or ordering prints or getting work framed, or FINISHING PAINTINGS I can't seem to shake off the ominous sense of a deadline.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried, just taking one day at a time, pulling my shoulders down from round my ears when I remember.

Getting ready for a hafla tonight- that's Arabic/Egyptian for dance party; there will be attendance from the three different groups I teach, plus other teachers and their students; there will be live drummers (nothing worse than a dead drummer to bring the atmosphere down;) and food, oh, and a chance for ladies to get up and have a good old boogie.

I'm actually quite looking forward to it, just the timing of it is a little ill-planned.

It does take a bit of putting together, and I am in a bit of a flap, but it will all be over by midnight and I can get back to panicking about the art tour.

Enjoyed the garden this week, which is coming into it's own; the oriental poppies are blooming, as is the rosemerry, and a lovely pale yellow rose, which gives out the most amazing scent.

I spent a few days sketching two honesty plants- the heads are beginning to mature and colour from purple-green to pale blue and yellow- well, in my sketchbook they are!

Roll on June 22nd, that's what I say, when the house is tidy and clean, the paintings are framed and hung and I'm scrubbed and sociable- ready to meet art tour visitors.