Tuesday afternoon I organize the untutored life painting and drawing class, I did the BDS bookkeeping instead of painting. I teach Tuesday evening, I sort out the models and general BDS stuff through the week while Graham gets the last people paid up and on to the course for the weekend. I run the untutored class Wednesday evening, have a full on drawing school day with G Thursday then teach the evening class again as the tutor has had to cancel this week. Clear up after the class Thursday evening and get the school ready for the portrait with oils course, leave at 10ish …… it’s all ready, beautiful, waiting in suspense for 14 eager students. Get home to message to say the tutor has horrific ear infection and cannot come tomorrow. Have small bottle of beer and some cheese biscuits and sit and look at prices of the units at paintworks, wonder if we could make back some of the money we have put in if we sell now. Go to bed.

Wake up. Call all the students and let them down.

Go for walk with friends at 9am in ashton court somewhat cheered up and although supposed to be doing my accounts today go home again and put up shelf in cupboard. Mope about a bit after initial flurry, feel the cold I have been battling all week may have taken hold. Look up our holiday, my painting trip, for next year and get lost in dreaming of France. Supposed to be going to private view but can hardly be bothered to cook let alone talk to anyone, Graham and I scrabble something together to eat and have evening off.

Saturday, wake up stressed again, BDS seems to have taken over my identity and need to regain some of my own ground. Discuss putting up boundaries, taking on less to do with the school but at present there are just no solutions. Go to work in a bit of a mood, as I have to work at the weekend when I am feeling tired and ill. The sun is shining and we should be walking with Molly.

Drive to work thinking about France and painting and what I would like to be doing today instead. Drive past a flower shop. Swing left and stop the van. Walk back in the morning sun to the shop. It’s a posh flower shop, one I think B would like. Plenty of English flowers, not millions of flowers but distinctive, sophisticated and interesting flowers. Colours of purple, lime green, reds, pinks, whites backed with foliage of grey greens and light purple tints.

A lovely girl tries to help, I explain I am choosing some to draw and may be ages. We discuss colour and I pick out ones that are sculptural, easy to draw, nothing too complicated or with too many petals. She offers to wrap them in a move and brown paper, I don’t need them wrapped but I take the paper anyway as its such a lovely colour. I don’t even go into my space, just work amongst the forest of easels, I clear a small space of wall and feel incredibly excited, for today it’s my choice. The jobs can stay next door, sometimes it’s a need rather than a want.

Start drawing. Realize a few things quite quickly
– Flowers are incredibly sexy
– If you make a drawing of a person sexy then it’s just cheep, sluttish. Flowers are outrageous.
– I need to invest in myself
– I can not take anything else on to do with BDS
– I have to be strong to improve myself in my own way, find my own direction. Even if it narrows my chances
– I have to give myself the time to explore to reap the benefits in the future, not to work to full fill orders but to work to make work
– Instead of offering the space for residencies to other artists next summer I should take the time myself, give some back to myself
– I keep getting confused between colour and form
– I know nothing about flowers
– Flowers are really tricky to draw

So I struggle away the day in a thoroughly enjoyable way, take molly out at lunchtime, have a bacon sandwich as if I am hung over but I drank nothing last night, incredibly tired and disorientated. I go to Deb’s for the West Bristol Arts Trail to drop of some leaflets that we should have done last night. Its nice to see people but I talk, not making much sense, as if discussing plans not yet finalized. I tell an artist there that he needs to give himself more time to work, a month at least to push the paintings. I buy one as if to reiterate my comments, I think I was speaking to myself.

To the top of Bristol and a walk with G in the strong, just before dusk sun. We see the last rays peak below black clouds onto flat downs, molly plays with her orange ball.

Cambridge Arms. 2 pints of Pride. I about flowers and in doing so realise the ones I have been drawing today are like my Vessel sculptures and it’s as if I have gone full circle. It makes sense why I am attracted to flowers. It would be fine if it didn’t but I like it that it does.

Graphite on paper, one
Roughly 42cms high x 59cms wide

Graphite on paper, two
Roughly 59cms high x 42 cms wide

‘Coming from two places’
Oil on Primed Paper
65cms high x 50cms wide

re working life drawings

I still sometimes think I could improve drawings, they could be slightly more this and that, I try to work with drawings after leaving the life room but often it seems ‘put on’. It seems that honest instant interpretation of form and light and the energy of the translation goes as soon as the model moves, to recreate that later is always going to seem faked.

I am still perplexed how people painted with such life, they couldn’t have had lions in the studio but there they are in paintings as fresh and as alive as if they were painted from observation. I have always been an interpreter of life, copied life if you like, I can sculpt from my imagination and memory but drawing and painting seems different, I need to have life there to paint life.

But I will keep trying, I will find my lion!

Colour seeps in

Day 3 Lido

Has the lido brought a sense of colour back, or is it sitting back, taking time. When I left the first day I felt like I had done a yoga class, my limbs were loose and I walked tall …..but I had just sat and drawn.
Water has always been an attraction. Mummy said I used to just run towards the deep water and jump in, it would frighten her as it was before I could swim. I had no fear.

Today the lido residency seems to make sense. Swimming under the water without goggles the flickers of green become blurred, I recognize the color and it is all around me. Yes its beautiful, its sunny I guess you would find a way to make it make sense. But I also look forward to when the water is dark, out of the sunlight. I look forward to my year of work, but working in a different way with a different attitude. Open to life, letting life in instead of the depressive task master of the past few years.

No drawing today as have to get an exhibition ready. 20 lengths in the green blue shimmers of a pool drenched in sun and a bit of writing…..

I have had three days of bliss, the sun has shined and it has affected my work and attitude.
Friday I drew and sorted drawings all day, throwing 212 away, great decisions. Did PFD1.1 and started PFD2.1

Cycled to meet Graham at the grain barge, 2 of No.7 in the sunshine overlooking the river. Talked excitedly about my new thinking about colour and pastels. I want to be a painter but pastels are more like drawing with colour and I am predominantly a drawer first, it seems to make sense.
We carried our bikes up the steps to the Lion, one more and home for pasta in the garden with the birds. Swallows high over the buildings making the most of the evening.

The weekend – untutored life drawing class. Part of me and the others there were thinking, bad luck to be working inside on a stunningly sunny weekend but it was the best. Saturday I worked hard which is hugely satisfying and makes me happy. I think some progress could have been made. Went for a walk in Saltford on the way to bath for a priv view at Beaux Arts.

Sunday morning, boiled eggs in the sunshine and a magical cycle through a quite Sunday morning city. Down park street, through Queens Square, past St.Mary Redcliff, under the big dark bridge of temple meads then out into the light along the river and to another day of intense drawing.

Deb is the model. Her form is familiar; my new found colours are out again. I start with blues and greens and realize people need more warmth so ocher comes out again as a background, blues and greens on top for shadow and representation of blood just under the surface. Saturday was a day of realizing why I did people,( PLR8 to 19) Sunday was enjoying it. ( PLR20 – 24 )

Then bike back along the river with debs, chatting, past the arnolfini, over the little bridge and bye to debs. Then over the iron bridge to ashton court, puff puff up the hill to meet my darling Graham and Molly. A walk with Molly, put on the lead to avoid the skylarks nests. They complain high above and make the weekend complete. A magical city!
Home to lasagne, cool white wine in the garden and then a program about Dali, I had forgotten that he could paint.

Anyway time to get on, time to get my work ready for an exhibition. They will not have everything they want but hopefully they will have enough.