I’m often asked about the place where I paint.
I’m fortunate that I have a whole room to myself because most of the time it's a mess. It has become, as well as my work area, a repository (dumping ground?) for books, and ceramics, and textiles, and more books and prosthetic legs, and all sorts of wonderful things that I can't resist. It smells of Linseed Oil and Turpentine and that’s one of the best smells in the world (cat's heads are also delicious).
Through the bay window I have a great view of the castle and the breakwater but as I can't paint landscapes or seascapes this doesn't distract me a whole lot-though I do like to watch the fishing boats as they come and go. These windows face North and because the sun doesn’t come round until late afternoon (even in Summer) the light is quite flat and pretty much unchanging which is perfect. I never paint in artificial light and although some people swear by their daylight adjusted bulbs I have never taken to them. This means that dreary winter days are a bit of a pain. As with cricket, “Rain stops play”.
Behind my easel I have an old tea trolley for brushes and a small stool where Ting Ting the cat likes to sit and admire the birdlife as I paint. He’s great company but has a bad habit of launching himself onto his viewing platform by pushing off from the base of my easel. I do a lot of smudges that way. The drawers where I keep my paint tubes has another viewing area for his brother Minggu but he, (Mr Dumb but Deluxe) rarely surfaces except for meals.
I’m not tidy with my paints and there is no order to how they are arranged on my palette or table. Of course I would like to be more organized but as I’m not yet at the level of Francis Bacon I guess that if I squeeze a few tubes from the middle it’s not the worst thing in the world.
More about paint and process in a later blog.