I love twilight, itsÂ my favourite time of the day, when theÂ golden afternoon light goes hazy and starts to turn to the purple night. But,Â with the abysmal weather we’ve had this week, the depressing grey light starts to fade by 5pm, and although its not night-time, it might as well be when you’re trying to paint a watercolour, cos there’s one thing you can’t do as the light fades, and that’s paint in it! You can in oils, or acrylics, or pastel, cos you do that thing, oh, what’s it called? Oh yeh, I remember, switch the light on. But watercolours have to be painted in daylight, so brushes down, and find something else to do. I’m not one of those artists who rates “daylight bulbs” either, for me, its got to me the natural version. Cos I’ve learnt the hard way in the past trying to carry on regardlessÂ as the light fades, and the paint goes on the paper as darker and increasingly darker shades which looks foul and unnatural the next day and I have to wet the paper and gently and remove it, and repaint it the lighter shade to save the picture – or even throw it away and start again in some extreme cases. No, the best thing is to stop. Stop and watch the snow come down today. I could hardly believe the white-out of snow that fell again overnight, the last part of March and we don’t usually get this sort of weather, its normally green buds starting to show!
Other than that I’ve got on well with the “obscure as it is obvious” watercolour painting this week, and am pleased with the way its looking, although it still needs the river doing, which is going to be tricky as it flows through most of the picture and changes character along the way, and some small adjustments afterwards to make sure that there aren’t any out of balance areas ofÂ dark colour compared to the lighter areas.
Other than that, theÂ high light of this week wasÂ theÂ meeting I went toÂ for one of the art groups I’m a member of, and was pleased toÂ see the three newest membersÂ there, one of whom happened to sat next to me during the meeting itself.Â At the end whenÂ people were dashing for the door, as halfÂ of them seem to do, desperate to get home to their own television sets I think, I asked himÂ if he was staying behindÂ for a drink, and was gratified to see his face break into a smile “Ooooh, drink, yes!” he said and I wondered if he was a big drinker, butÂ the half of bitter didn’t show him toÂ me, no,Â it was the sociable side he liked, like I doÂ too.Â Its easy as an artist to be stuck in your own little world, painting at home, and not integrating withÂ other artists and finding out what they’re getting up to. He sat next to me again when the sociable ones had relocated to the front bar, and we started to get to know each other asÂ members of the same artÂ group. He’s retired and in his late sixties I think, andÂ we talked aboutÂ what we like painting,Â (me – difficult stuff and erotic art, him – anything), how professional or amateur we are (me -Â professional, him Â – amateur but wanting to do more),Â and then he brought out hisÂ artist sketchbook that heÂ always carries on him, ready to do some little drawing of whatever catches his eye when he’s out and about, and it turned out that he’d been out and about in some of the far flung corners of the world that I had been to as well! So we did that thing that “travellers” do that so annoys people who haven’t done it, and have no desire to do it, but travellers LOVE to do it, and that is to name the countries we’d visited, finding the ones that match so that we could compare shared experiences. Not in a one up-man sort of way, but in an enjoyment of having seen the same things, shared the same experience, stood in the same spot – he’d been to countries that I hadn’t – Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany. I’d been to countries that he hadn’t – Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa. But, we had both been to Japan, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, America, Czech Republic, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Belguim. And of course its Japan and China that are always the interesting ones to talk about, since their culture is so different to ours, and more interesting because of it. I haven’t met many people who also have been to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Mirajima, and Tokyo, but he had, and the conversation flowed as we talked about it, our faces lit up in hte excitment of memory. Until the end of the night, when we both went home to our respective houses, me still fired up with visiting foreign lands, but then that’s what I’ve been painting this week, a foreign land of my own creation. It hasn’t got anything Japanese in it though. Not even the dragon.