I was asked a strange question this week by someone I’ve neverÂ spoken to before.Â We were talking on the phone aboutÂ other moreÂ prosaic matters and I mentioned to him that I was an artist, which interested him as he told me he was really intoÂ art. He asked what sort of art I did and I explained the whole list – figures, animals, landscapes, fantasy art, camouflage art, erotic art, pet portraits and any subjectÂ that anyone wanted, in oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastel, pencil. There was a pause and he said “How to you manage to do that without it affecting your home life?”. I can understand that if you’re not an artist that he would think that it would, and as a business person you want to switch off from work. But when you are an artist, you never do.Â Never.Â
IÂ am always looking at light, and shape, and colour, no matter what I am doing.Â Last week I was chatting to a friend outdoors, and was stopped dead by the sunlight on the yellowy lime green of the winter treesÂ behind him, the way the branches were lit up by the late afternoon sun against a cobalt blue sky, and the effect theÂ shadows of the trees made against the trees to the side of them, was stunning. I was so fully aware of it in a startlingly effective way, but had to pay attention to what my friend was saying and answer him whilst wanting to push him to one side and point urgently and say “Look at those trees, and the light against them!”Â to which he would probably have thought IÂ had gone mad! And last night whilst watching a DVD of the Ken Follet book “World without end” a book that I love, and the mini series that I haven’t seen before, there were a few scenes whereÂ the balance of light and darks of a night scene were so beautifully evocative I was instantly attracted to wanting to paint the image of the medieval buildings in purples with yellow light spilling from windows. Â
And even when I’ m sitting chatting with friends, drinking rose wine, I am watching the way the light effects theÂ colour of theÂ pale pink wine throughÂ the clearÂ wine glass.
Or driving along a road and noticing the colour ofÂ the lichen on the tiles of a houseÂ roof. Â
So, I never switch off from being an artist, whatever I’m doing.
It’s like asking a gardener not to notice flowers, or a builder not to look at the mortar in old buildings, you can’t do it. It’s part of the fabric of who you are.