Landing in an undignified heap on the stairs down to the Tottenham Hale tube station platform didn’t do a lot for my week. On the way down the long, steep stairway, my heel caught on the edge of a step and off I went. Luckily there were no broken bones – merely a sprained ankle. This meant some enforced foot-up time during the week. Great for catching up on work, but by Sunday I really needed a break from figure work.
Last year my studio was upstairs in the house. Although I had the option of moving my painting to the summer house, I desisted because I felt that I wouldn’t paint as much in the colder months of the year.
Two weeks ago I did an about turn, and shifted my studio out to the summer house – transformational. Because I can see the studio from the house, it kinda calls me to go and pick up my brushes. Yes, it is cold going out there, but once the heater and the lights are on, it is a great space to be in, and I find myself painting a lot more in my spare time. The light is very different in the summer house, and I am really looking forward to painting from there in the spring and summer.
Last night the predicted snow arrived. We woke up this morning to a good 10cm fall. (Horatio did not enjoy walking through snow that was deep enough to chill his belly.)
I’m not sure whether the path having been cleared and salted was an endorsement of my painting, or concern that my injured ankle wouldn’t cope with trogging through the snow. Either way, the route to the studio door was enticing enough to get me out there.
So, what’s on the easel? I am working on two commissions at the moment. I find the process of working on something I’ve been asked for is much slower and more thoughtful than my usual painting style. There’s much more planning before the paintbrush touches paper.
Finally, if you’re in London and you’ve not yet booked to see the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy – you really should. I found it inspiring in lots of ways. His use of colour is startling, and there is a wonderful sense of immediacy in his paintings. One of the most surprising aspects of the exhibition is the size and quality of the prints of paintings creating on his iPad. Really worth seeing.