My first day as a journalist on a newspaper, I was shown to my desk and tasked with various items to write. I stared at the screen. Panicking. ‘I can’t do this.’ My mind a blank. Sure, I had a few published freelance articles and a lot of copywriting to my name, but who was I to think I could be a journalist?
One of the team was watching. He came over. “Just write,” he said. “Anything – doesn’t matter what - just type something. Then you’ll be fine.”
He was right. It got me going. I will always be grateful for his kindness in teaching me a valuable lesson: the muse comes to you as you’re working. All you have to do is show up and start the work. It’s exactly the same with painting. No waiting for the muse to come. I just paint.
When I was writing books, I added two other ways to make the start. Sometimes writing a free-flow poem would loosen me up. Sometimes the words would begin to flow when I asked this question.
What do you really want to write?
Today I saw a painting on Jon Katz’s blog. Rough. Succinct. Arty. Somehow beautiful. It spoke to me.
When I began to paint just now, I realised I was itching first to write. I asked the question. What do you really want to write Jenny? The answer was just that. Hope.
It’s the beginning of the year. Things are quiet. I sold three paintings in the first week of January, but a sale yesterday of the big monochrome London one fell through when the freight costs to Australia proved too high for the buyer. And there are no bids on eBay.
Then I read a piece by an artist saying no one should sell their work at low prices. Artists love to tell me that. They think I should follow the given art establishment thinking that we should sell high and keep upping our prices or people won’t think anything of us and our work.
Well I don’t believe that – it’s all a ruse in my view. I used to sell in galleries for a lot of money. If I still were, they’d be way up there in the stratosphere.
Instead I’m flying in a different way. I love the freedom of selling online at affordable prices. It suits me, and rather than buyers despising my work at the low prices, they send me the most wonderful thoughts and heartfelt thanks.
But I couldn’t help feeling disappointed with the lull in proceedings and wondering if I’d got it wrong.
Then I remembered what Rachel Nicholson said in an interview. That the only regret she had about her success was that she wasn’t free to experiment.
I am totally free. I can paint whatever and however I like. If I were known only for one particular thing, I’d be bored. I love the serendipity of often not knowing what or how I’m going to paint until I start.
So I don’t care if some artists frown on me – I shall continue to show my work on three online platforms at their respective selling prices. All truly affordable – the ones on eBay especially so!
And if any of my paintings give browsers the jolt of inspiration or happiness that Jon Katz’s painting did me this morning, then that’s brilliant.
Thank you Jon. Now I will paint for the sheer, joyous love of it and my heart is already there on the canvas waiting for me to begin.
With love, light and
for a good start to the New Year for you all,
If you’d like to see the Hope painting it’s on Jon Katz’ blog at http://www.bedlamfarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Hope.jpg