All tidied up ready for the next mess!

There comes a time in an artist’s studio practice when there is nowhere to work. All surfaces are occupied, references are piled on the floor and there is a very real danger of spilling coffee on the masterpiece or putting the mug down on top of a very nice little sketch. Don’t ask me how I know!

The amount of time spent in preparation and mental manoevres to get to a flow state is often greater than the time spent painting. I have been gearing myself up to working in oils seeing as most of my watercolour paints have rigor mortis – they lie twisted and dried up in an After Eights tin. Hence a massive clean up and a rummage in the tool box for a spanner or pair of pliers that will get the tops off oil paint tubes.

I am struggling already with oils as they have no mind of their own and need me to place every blob and stroke. Oil paint sits on the surface like a tiny turd and I have to resist the urge to saturate it in turps and spread it over the canvas like a watercolour wash. It does not work like that, and so I feel like a complete beginner again! Thanks to YouTube and a million art tutorials I am more confused and frustrated than ever and remind myself that this is the life of an artist. I am far from cutting off my ear, but slashing the canvas and throwing my brushes at the wall is a recurring thought.

Enjoy these images of tidiness and clearish surfaces. A rare treat!

Jacana Studio, Kazungula

Baobabs

Baobab trees are the elephants of the Plant Kingdom. They are enormous, magestic, wrinkly, and odd looking. I think of paintings of baobabs and elephants as portraits – they distinguish themselves in the landscape and I like to honour them in that way.