I lugged my gear along to the Art Club today and piled it into my ducket - my fears were unfounded, my name on the piece of masking tape still there for all to see.
There were cries all round of "Mr Zip!" except of course they don't know I'm Mr Zip so they used another name entirely. There was a short period of good-natured banter and then I was urged to sit down with a cup of coffee and eat my lunch.
Eventually, I started to get things sorted out. I hauled an easel over to a handy spot next to The Salesman. I haven't seen The Salesman in at least six months and as he was just about finished what he was working on, we had to go through the Catching Up conversation. A necessity which I didn't resent, but I was itching to get on with some work.
"You'll find, " said The Mad Doctor, "that towards mid-afternoon a lot of people are packing up for the day, so they like to come and look at your work and talk; yes, definitely talk. You won't get anything done until they've all gone home."
Eventually things calmed down again and I was able to get my canvas on the easel. I'd decided to bring along a picture I started a little under a year ago, in the hope I'd be able to resuscitate it. It's a picture of one end of the Millennium Bridge - the "Wobbly" Bridge - seen from the window of Tate Modern, and this is how it looked at the beginning of today's session.
For a long time now, I've wondered whether I might have bitten off more than I could chew. A gallery owner once said to me, "You do like making life difficult for yourself, don't you?" And it's true; for some reason I'm drawn to complicated problem subjects. And the difficult problem area in this picture is, of course, all those bloody ribs on each side of the bridge.
I was attracted by the scatterings of people and didn't honestly think about the ribs when I started the painting, but now was the time to try to make something of them. Some time ago, I'd pencilled in the divisions between the ribs and now I needed to get some paint on them, to see how they might shape up.
As it happens, it went quite well. I did a lot of huffing and puffing - which The Mad Doctor found most amusing - but overall I'm quite pleased with the way it's going.
Sometimes I find that there's a kind of mental log jam builds up and it becomes very difficult to get things moving again. Just doing something different can be enough to get those mental logs to shift. Even though I probably won't be able to do more to this painting until next Thursday, I feel today's efforts should get me painting again in my own studio.