Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places at times.
It’s almost three weeks since I picked up a paint brush and I’ve been wrestling with painter’s block for the last few days. I find it very difficult to paint when I am travelling. This is a barrier I know I need to tackle. For many reasons, I find my studio a far more productive place to work. In some respects it’s just the practical aspects of having all my tools and materials at hand immediately. There’s the familiar chair, the light exactly where I want it to be, and none of the time pressure associated with painting outdoors with shifting light and unexpected audiences.
I suspect there’s also the fact that my studio is filled with images that inspire me. There are fragments of paintings that worked well, art magazines, reference books, landscape photography books, and notes pinned up all over the walls. There’s very little blank wall space at all.
Even so, it takes time for me to work out exactly what I want to paint, and the tighter the deadline for works to be completed, the longer it seems to take to come up with a subject that inspires. That said, some of my best paintings have been completed the night before an exhibition – stressful though that is.
Last week, I was fortunate to have the benefit of a dedicated tutoring session from an expert in the investment world. He very kindly spent almost two hours explaining concepts I wanted to understand, drawing graphs to make the mechanics clear and translating the unfamiliar terminology. At the end of the session a lighthearted comment about providing an ‘apple for the teacher’ was made, and for some reason that phrase stuck in my mind. So when I needed to find a subject to get my brushes back to work, red apples came to mind.
I felt very rusty at first – does anyone else get that feeling when getting back to painting after a while? By the time I finished the sketch I was raring to go again, and would happily have spent many more hours in the studio.
Next week, we’re driving the support car for Chris and Helen’s London to Paris bicycle ride in aid of Mind. We leave on Tuesday evening and I expect I will post a few snippets of news as we progress. I may even manage to paint something along the way.