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(No) Paint on my fingers

We were at a friend’s place the other day (gorgeous old home, lovingly restored) and I was delighted to see her own paintings across the house. Looking at those colourful canvases, some framed, some still works in progress made me long for the easel myself.

I haven’t painted since we moved back from England.  There, we both painted with so much ease (and frequency). Art was all around us – the galleries, the how-to TV shows, the local classes, the high street art supply shops. I painted little canvases as gifts for friends, for our own enjoyment, for our walls. We painted cards galore, for each other and everybody else. We experimented with oil, acrylic, watercolours, pastels. I love oils and acrylic and struggle a bit with watercolour, but Mr. R is good with everything. 

Here, the art galleries are aplenty, too (not as much as in London, of course, but still quite a few), but that is it. Stationery shops are hard to come by and supplies are expensive.

That’s no excuse, though. Because sitting in boxes are blank canvases of many sizes, books of unused watercolour and acrylic paper and paint, lots of paint.

I often look at the river outside and think how lovely it would be to paint this view. In my mind, I can already see the canvas, the blues and the greens, the reds and yellows of the boats on the other side. The grey of the bridge would make a brief appearance on one side, blending into a flame-of-the-forest on the other. I’d erase the road and the traffic – who wants a reminder of them all the time, anyway?

We made an easel for M out of a broken window and a plywood base for the back. We bought blackboard paint to let him experiment with chalk if he’d like to. He loves splashing paint on newspaper and needs little encouragement to try.

I’m frozen, bruised from all the planning and daydreaming.

I had a thought the other day that if I knew I was going to die (Mum, don’t panic!), one of my biggest regrets would be not painting enough. It struck me that ‘not writing enough’ would not be an issue, because that will not stop. I will always write – for personal pleasure and for public consumption. But can I be audacious enough to aim for an artistic legacy as well?

I tell myself that I will paint once I have some private space to myself, where I will not be interrupted by maids passing by or telephone calls or M wanting to ‘co-work’ with me. My old ‘office’ (a converted room in the verandah that I wrote in before M was born, now abandoned to piles of pending filing, cobwebs and a false ceiling that is home to a significant portion of the country’s pigeon population) is ideal and I’m always planning on reclaiming it.

Before the year ends, hopefully.

So. I want to paint again. It gnaws at me like a craving for Bounty chocolates (especially when there are a few in the fridge and I’m trying to stay away). When I’m procrastinating on an article or have a particularly vile administrative task to do, my first thought is “I’d rather be painting”. And that never ceases to surprise me.

What about you? Do you have a secret side to yourself that continues to surprise you?


Image via Flickr


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