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True Grit but not too dry

The incredibly cold wet miserable weather of the weekend brought with it some unexpected bonuses. And can I say, this is certainly the wettest drought I’ve ever seen! I don’t think its stopped raining since they mentioned “hose pipe ban” – I know because I put some lawn fertiliser on my dry as a bone  lawn two weeks ago today, looking up at the grey rain clouds overhead hoping that they would drop SOME rain on my grass since the fertiliser needs to be watered in within two days of scattering it on the grass or else it burns it. It didn’t rain that night, the pregnant grey clouds passed overhead not releasing their load over my lawn, but I was pleased to note it rained the following day, to water the fertiliser in, and the next day, and the next day (you can stop now) and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, (Ok, we’ve had enough now) and the next day, right up to Sunday when the rain was horizontal, and it brought with it gale force winds and made every man woman and child (plus the birds) head for cover. And what that meant was, I didn’t do what I had planned on doing, but it meant I could virtually finish the watercolour painting I’ve been working on of the three dogs and two cats, to the point where I’m really really pleased with it, and have finished it off today, just completing the last few bits that pulls it all together. I won’t contact the client today though, I always like to sit back, and look at the painting afresh the following day, to walk into my studio where the painting is sitting there, quietly, and see what my *gut reaction* is to it. I expect it to be  a happy-smilingly-happy-feeling of having done a good job and it looking like it should do – that satisfying feeling of having done it to be best of my ability, that there is nothing, nothing at all, that can be done to improve on it. That is the feeling I expect, because that is the one I’ve just had when I looked at it, mug of hot sweet tea in hand, looking hard and intently at the picture, the overall look of it, the way the little bits pull it all together, and smiling to myself that they work. And they do. Its not only the big things but also the little things, but all of them together makes the picture *look right*.  When I’ve shown it to the client, I’ll show it to you – hopefully later on this week……

Whilst I was listening to the radio last night, doing paperwork that was easy to do but didn’t take up that much of my attention that I felt the need for other noise in the room with me, there was a programme on Radio 4  that really interested me. It was about “Creativity”. And I would think I know a lot about that subject since it features largely in my life…..

…. the programme had a number of other people on it, the presenter was talking to them in turn, and interestingly enough they didn’t have the one person I would have expected – they had a Chemist, and a Novellist, and two others, but no ARTIST! Why would that be?  But what they said was an awful lot I could relate to – that Creativity is within us all but comes out in various ways, and that it is thinking outside the box that aids creativity. I was surprised to hear that the age when that it reaches its peak is very young for Chemists, and Mathematicians, although no age was mentioned for artists at all (perhaps we don’t hit a peak?), being in the twenties age group. And was amused to hear that time that appears to be being wasted by a Creative person is actually very usefully being used – when they go for a walk, or sit staring out of the window – because they are thinking, and some of the best ideas and concepts come when you’re not working at it, or trying TOO hard. (I always say that  for me nine tenths of creating a piece of art is the THINKING of it, no matter how many hours go into painting it).  It also stated that its best to try different ideas and ways of doing things, and not to stick with the same ones, because that stilts creativity.  And the one thing that a Creative person has above all else, is the drive, the passion, the full on time to practice practice practice, that single-minded urge to succeed. Oh, how I could relate to that! It was described as “True Grit” and I smiled when I heard that phrase. Yep, that’s what it is. That’s why I’ve been to a different art workshop nine months of every year for the last eleven years to learn new techniques from other artists, that’s why when someone asks me “Can you paint a picture for me……?” I nod and say “Yes!” before I hear the rest as I know I can do it. That’s why I am looking for new outlets for my work all the time, that’s why I have a studio set out for me to paint in oils or acrylics or watercolours or draw in pencil or pastel or ink. And a bookcase filled with inspirational books. That’s why a lot of my conversations are art connected. That’s why a lot of my friendships have been forged through art. And that’s why I paint, even if there was no one to paint for except myself. That’s what I call being passionate about my art.

But, I do have other interests in life, I love reading, and swimming, walking, cooking, following Formula One, gardening, collecting wooden puzzles, watching films, taking photos, playing board games, playing Bejewelled (don’t get me started on that one!), travel, socialising with my friends, laughter and good wine.

Its not all about art. And yet, it is.