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Welcome Visitors; Painting; Step by Step, Kindly

The Siskins are back. Little green and yellow jewels. Welcome! Except that it’s not good news for the blue tits who defer to them and sometimes give up visiting the invaded bird table completely. I’ll scatter the sunflower seeds they love in other places to give them a better chance.

A wonderful sign of Spring on its way though.

And with the worst of the Winter (hopefully anyway) behind us, it was great to have some visiting buyers over the last couple of weeks including one delightful family who are new collectors and took home several paintings, and also another long-standing friend and collector who has been many times called in to collect a newly commissioned painting. They tell me they have filled their houses with my paintings now and must stop buying! - but I hope they’ll pop in for a coffee and a chat about art and life whenever they’d like a drive out this way.

Painting and writing are mostly solitary for me and so it’s a delight when visitors call. My home is my studio and it’s a treasure trove of colour with my own and others’ paintings and people love to roam about looking at everything and choosing their favourite. A bonus for me of course is that the packing is just a matter of some bubblewrap to keep it safe in their car instead of the time-consuming process of custom-making a cardboard box and sorting out the courier booking and labels.

It’s funny with paintings. Sometimes they are snapped up quickly but other times they don’t sell and I’ll find myself looking hard at one such and wondering if it’s just not up to muster and I should paint over it. No shame after all as many of the great painters did just that over and over again, as they said themselves or Xrays have revealed. One of my yardsticks is the comments of friends – if any of them say they like or love the painting in question, I’ll most likely keep faith in it. Another is Matisse’s advice: when you think a painting’s finished, turn it to the wall for a few weeks before looking at it again when you’ll see with new eyes whether it needs more work – yes, that often often often happens!

But when I absolutely love a painting that so far has been neglected by buyers, I just say to it “Well I love you and you are part of my personal collection so don’t worry, I won’t paint over you!”

I’d done that with two of the big ones that lingered long, and then blow-me-down at the weekend they went to separate buyers. Makes me wonder how many of the ones I’ve painted over would have given joy to someone in time. But hey ho – I don’t have the space to keep too many!

That’s one of the reasons selling online is brilliant though. I do truly love the revolution of selling art that it provides – making art that’s truly affordable easily available to everyone. But a great joy of it for me is that because the turnover of my paintings is so good I can paint as much as I like.

Art is so fascinating. The actual wonder of painting for the artist, the fun of choosing for the buyer and occasionally that amazing “I love it!” moment of connection. Then there’s the masses of easily available information, advice, etc. about art for painters and buyers. Being a rebel, I often baulk at the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ but nevertheless keep learning. Above all though, for me, it’s all about pleasure and challenge and, too, the comforting work of the step-by-step making of a painting that so often needs to sit side by side with those wondrous times when you and the paint are united in a flow of spontaneous inspiration.

Step by step. Like life. Let’s all remember to feel the joy too along the way, and pass it on to others whenever we can. I think I heard on the radio this morning that it’s ‘go kindly day’? Yes, but let’s make it every day.

With love and light


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