1 Jul 2016

July Oak. Make hay while the sun shines.

“It’s 8.45…”

I have a built-in body clock. No need to set the alarm on the 1990’s style minutes-and-hands face so close to my own each morning. I now sleep and paint in the smallest room in the house. Everything is close-up. I roll up the blinds, open the window, drink the remains of the overnight water and check my phone, all without leaving the duvet. Yesterday’s jeans and t-shirt are within arm’s length on the floor beside. I only change work clothes between paintings. It helps preserve the mood. The closeness is working for me. Hashtag "prolific".

Juice; porridge, not soused overnight (sorry grandpa); coffee; Sky news; second coffee. Back up to the bedroom studio. I stand and survey yesterday’s artwork. The year is half over. Am I on course?

“July Oak”, the eighth of a series, sees my painting target for the year well ahead of schedule. Anticipating little change in what has been a particularly rainy season so far, I decided to base July’s painting on my fleeting visits to Sherwood Forest in June and get started. It is more important the work depicts a typical account of the British weather rather than the climatic shortcomings of one particular year. I am pleased with the outcome, the dense green foliage almost obliterating all shape and form in the forest, yet failing to completely disguise the fact these ancient oaks are ageing and fading. My energy for art has not faded. Indeed, keeping this pace has produced better results than those landscapes I exhibited and had published in 2013 (see THIS LINK). I haven’t faded, it’s just that the activity has become more solitary.

Walks away from easel. Third coffee; Sky news update; resumes train of thought.

I can see now my personal target for the year’s work was too ambitious. All twelve oak paintings will meet my deadline of December 31st. Drawn illustrations for my intended novel (see THIS LINK) rather than paintings, will be more or less on course, it being an unquantifiable number until more chapters are written. Therein lies the rub. I am not writing enough. The oak paintings, intended as a side project, have taken over.

Solution: Make hay while the sun shines. Whilst the daylight is good in my tiny south facing bedroom studio, press on and complete the oaks ahead of schedule and save the writing for the darker months to come. Sorted.

You can watch a work-in-progress video of July Oak on THIS LINK.