I am back home in Mid Devon after first dropping off my eldest son at Warwick Uni, he's a clever lad and unlike his mum, very good at Maths. That and music are his 2 great loves and so I hope he finds joy in both of them while he takes the next steps in life , and adulthood , beginning University.
Funny to leave him there amid a mass of belongings , and uncertainty , it's like abandoning a pet by the road somewhere and hoping they find their way to a good home.
But so far so good, the worst thing to happen so far is a cut finger while preparing some vegetables.
Then on to spend a few days with mum, time in Wolverhampton, and the Shropshire hills,
Plus a few too many meals out, and lovely cups of coffee.
But no painting for me for a few days and this has got me revisiting the question....... what led you to painting, why do you paint?
I know I am not trying to convey a deep and meaningful message through my art, I have no political agenda and I am certainly not out to shock. So why do I paint? It is something that is deep within me, I think, a need that needs fulfilling an itch I need to scratch.
We all paint as children and most people say to me now "oh I wish I could draw or paint" much as people wish they could sing or play a musical instrument. But then people don't carry on painting after they leave school . Perhaps because they think they haven't any great talent for it, or they haven't the time. People worry the work needs to be 'good enough', but 'good enough' for what? We don't have to write, or swim or speak at a professional level, our gardens , cooking or d.i.y doesn't have win awards for us to enjoy it. So if you enjoy painting then do it , you don't need to show anyone, do it for yourself.
But for some reason deep within me I did carry on after I left school, simply because it gave me joy ..... and it did for many years before I was lucky enough to earn a living at it.I did it for many years before I showed anybody anything I painted.....I did it for myself.
So essentially that is why I have always painted.I love the process , I know I could take a photo but a painting is different. We all ( me included) snap away with our phones but when you sit in a field and look, really look and paint the way it feels you never forget that scene...
I can still remember sitting in this field in Sussex two summers ago, and a hazy summers day, and looking through the wild flowers and the grasses. That day would be long forgotten but for this painting.
So I paint to enjoy a place, to feel what the place is like, to really look and to cement a moment in time, I like to sketch when we are out and about on holiday, or on a day trip to capture moods that I can use at a later date, things to file away in my memory.
This is my little girl quite a few years ago now at Budleigh, but I look at this and I remember the salty wind and her hair whipping round her face, happy memories .
I also paint because I enjoy actually painting the craft of it. I like to make a real thing or place emerge from a blank piece of paper. I love the magic of it , watercolour is portable and versatile, it can be a tricky beast but it always surprises me and the more I use it the more |I can make it do.
I like to practice subjects I love, I love to paint eyes they are like the icing on the cake ,the treats in a painting ,so painting my lovely cat Marty was no exception
I also love to paint when we are on holiday, my biggest challenge is painting the sea, I love the sea but it isn't perhaps the thing I paint best. So at the end of a very happy day in Cornwall I did this quick sketch, I know we all felt happy and sun kissed, the tide was out and there were just a few people with us on the beach , a quick 30 minute sketch and I have something to use when I get home
Other days I just feel the need to paint what is just around the corner , literally a favourite tree, in Spring
And finally I paint because it is a challenge, everyday I wonder will it work out ok? I am striving to be better, to get the painting done better but I do worry that it will all go wrong.
Painting becomes addictive ,so I paint because it is something I can do but it is always different and I will never stop learning. To paint a new flower for the first time is a challenge and the because I am in control I add a bee...why? Because I can.
So please don't feel obliged to paint, but if you want to give it a go please do, it gives me an immense feeling of satisfaction, never be too hard on yourself ( we are all our own worse critics ). Have fun and really appreciate just looking...I promise if you start painting you will never see the world in the same way again