July News

Everyone has heard of the author’s arch enemy – writer’s block. A similar phenomenon occurs with painting – the curse of the blank canvas. Few things are as frightening as having a blank canvas and no idea of what should go on it. You can have the finest brushes, best paints and smoothest canvas, but if the idea’s not there then it’s all for nought. I have to confess to having had the odd panic attack coming towards the end of a painting, if there is no new idea already waiting in the wings.

It was like that recently, coming towards the end of a long portrait project. It seemed I’d been so focussed on the portrait that the end snuck up on me and before I knew it there was a blank canvas staring back at me. And the more I stared at it, the more nothing appeared and the more blank it was.

Fortunately, darkness is a kinder muse. The darkness of the early hours is when ideas tend to arrive. A spot of bright red against the black. The red becomes blood and the rest starts to grow around it. That’s how “Rejection” came along. And the best thing about ideas is that they breed other ideas, so the paint is still flowing steadily, this time with a Cleopatra death scene. It must have been the blood.

Thank goodness for the dark.

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