Monday, 5 July 2004

The stress! It's wonderful!!

I've just put a note out for the milkman, asking him to resume my Saturday delivery which, unaccountably, has failed to appear for two weeks.

It was the act of communicating with someone in the 21st century by putting a message in a bottle that suddenly seemed so bizarre. Long may it continue.

Anyway, this is a roundabout way of letting you know that the blogging method of communication may falter in the days ahead. I fear I'm about to enter painting purdah. While I was in London, I learned that three other painters and myself have been given the go-ahead for a show in the Long Gallery at Newcastle University which will last until the end of July.

This is really great, given that we've been trying to find a venue for the best part of a year.

However, we're hanging the show next Saturday and I have to make desperate decisions about what I want in it. I have more than enough pictures at home to fill the Gallery myself, but I saw this as an opportunity to show something a little different in a group context.

Accordingly, I've spent the last couple of days sorting through my Hoppings photographs and fiddling with them on Photoshop, to see if I might have a theme.

And I do have a theme. So much so, that I must now select which of the images I want to take forward. Much of Saturday was taken up with beginning a new painting. It's very Hopperesque and called, provisionally, The Cigarette Break. Today,Sunday, I spent assembling stretchers and beginning the stretching of canvas on them. Tomorrow I'll finish the stretching, get them primed (usually three coats of acrylic gesso) and maybe start the basic laying in.

Frankly this is my favourite part of the process. There are no worries about making mistakes. Indeed, mistakes can be welcome. They add to the look of the picture, give an idea of the history of its making.

At the most, I guess I'm going to be working on three new pictures, in addition to The Cigarette Break, but that's a lot of work, even if it goes well. In between working, I have a dentist's appointment, probably a doctor's appointment (my foot is no better), a visit from Mo who needs to take a photograph of one of the, as yet, incomplete paintings for the show's publicity, and a meeting with the rest of the group to agree the wording of said publicity, budgetary matters, mailing list and arrangements for the Private View.

It may mean that I shan't be able to keep blogging as regularly as I'd like, but I will try to keep you up to date as often as I can.

Even if I have to send a message in a bottle.

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