When I was last here I was all freaked out by the possibility of having to embark on a series of huge and expensive works at the insistence of my newly hatching paintings. I did what I usually do when I hit a snag and ran off into the sea.
If our lives followed a narrative like a movie or a book I would have come to some clever or interesting conclusion to that particular problem and I would be here telling you about it. This is real life though and all I did was avoid the painting table until my inspiration moved on and then, as if it were a Merry-Go-Round, jumped on board again and mounted a different horse.
By then I had figured that the pictures didn’t HAVE to be big. I didn’t of course do the logical thing and set to work on those pictures. No. Instead I began to work from a different set of photos, ideas for pictures that I had left aside, interiors as opposed to exteriors and completely at odds with the great inspiration of two weeks ago, pictures that had no great idea underpinning them. Somehow that made it easier to get going. They were ones I just wanted to paint. In no time I had two small paintings under way.
At that point I left them aside and did another 45 degree turn and began painting some shell studies which I enjoyed so much I realised I could quite happily do a ton of them. And so all of a sudden I had three distinct and quite different strands of work going on.
This bothers me sometimes, that I can do paintings so different from each other, paintings that can be tight, nearly photographic in their execution or paintings that revel in the rough line of a loosely held brush and the natural movement of paint.Most known painters seem to have a particular style-excepting Picasso I suppose but I can’t claim to be a Picasso. Maybe this is because they work steadily and coherently on a daily basis whereas I, flibberty-gibbet that I am, run around the amusement park of my creativity jumping on and off rides, no rhyme or reason to my progress. It’s exhausting and often I am a loss when I encounter people who think I am lucky to be cursed with this compulsion to create.
During the week I heard it again, that I was so lucky to have a talent. It never fails to irritate me. Aside from the fact that artistic skill is mostly learned at the cost of gazillions of unpaid man hours, people who don’t paint think we are all have a great time sitting at home daubing away. I was told once when I was losing my job that at least I had my painting as if somehow painting magically did away with the need to pay rent, to eat.
Its not like that, this painting lark. Ten times a day I decide to give it up. And ten times a day I find myself thinking of some new impossible idea-impossible only because it’s so hard to keep my flibberty-gibbet ass in one place for any length of time.
It is a curse, this drive to paint. Sometimes it feels like I am being endlessly chased by a murderous clown through the night-time Fairground that is my mind:the garish colours, distorted music, leering faces and blinding lights. Maybe I should stop watching bad 70s cop shows…
There is no rest for your hurdy-gurdy head if you want to paint, not that I’ve noticed so far anyway. But there are rewards I suppose, prizes to be won, coconuts to be knocked over. As I was painting my shells I was like a child clutching a giant teddy or a goldfish in a bag:as happy as I’ll ever be.