Of course, I should be out painting, as it's a lovely sunny day out there, or at least in the studio, and not sitting here on the computer.... but birthdays are just a time for basking, aren't they? hearing from family and friends and getting Wished Well.... it's lovely.
I think we should celebrate each and every Birthday. They may mean that we are getting a little older each time, but they also mean that we are still here to appreciate them!
It's Winter in Malta! Most days the sun does come out, and if you can find a sheltered spot it can be lovely, but does get pretty windy and often wet. We need the rains though, as Malta dries up completely from around May to October. I live in one of the most fertile areas of Malta on the edge of a valley with the sea at both ends of it, so we do get some whistling winds here!
How to paint? I sit in the car with the radio and the heater on, and do little watercolour sketches (this one is about A5) while the Weather washes around me! I did the acrylic painting above afterwards in the studio, using the sketch as loose reference, trying to get the wet and windy atmosphere to howl through it.
During the Summer here, there really isn't much variety of Weather - every day is predictably hot, sunny and cloudless, so it's lovely to do something different at this time of year.
I must go down and do some rough seas next - they really are spectacular.......
So there I was, in the studio, fighting with a watercolour sketch that I had over-worked, and getting very frustrated with it. I had tried using soft pastels over it, which works sometimes.... but this time it was just getting worse. I liked the design and the idea of it, but it just wasn't coming together. I decided to abandon the watercolour altogether and start again on a dark-toned canvas using acrylics. To keep it simple I thought I'd try using only the three primary colours plus white...... and this is what happened!
I feel that the result really is splashy and happy - it's a direction I have been moving in for a while, but this painting is a real step into something new. I can't wait to try it again!
sketches of my cats, asleep on my lap!
I have been 'home' for over a week now, and - after forgetting a good friend's birthday, and another good friend's special dinner party - I think that I have landed properly now.......
For the first few days I am always half here and half there. I miss my family, and how easy it is to be with people you love and who love you back, but now I am remembering all the things I was meaning to do, all the things I MUST do, all the things I'd completely forgotten about........ but most of all I have to get used to being on my own again.
In the UK there was always someone I could ask "Would you like a cup of tea?" or answer 'Yes please!". Now it's just me and the cats again and they don't drink tea. It's OK really - I wouldn't get any work done if I was distracted by tea drinking.
It's not an easy path, trying to make a living by selling paintings and private tutoring, but it's probably no easier anywhere else in the world. I have been living in Malta for a long time now (I am British) and have been adopted as a 'Local Maltese Artist' so I have all my networks, contacts and friends here. It dawned on me recently that what it does take is a large dose of determination and discipline.
In the lull between coming back from holiday and actually starting up classes and advertising my next First Friday Gallery, nothing happens until I make it happen. So here I am, busy stirring up the pot, sorting through the chores and making my own tea!
... so here I am, all fattened up after spending Christmas and New Year in the UK with my family. It's been great, doing nothing much but being with the Ones I Love.
I did spend a day wandering around London seeing as many exhibitions and galleries as I possibly could, trying to take mental snapshots and store all the images for future reference. I find that's better than taking actual photos sometimes (I had forgotten to pack my camera anyway!) - memories are often better to paint from, and you can't be accused of copying! Having said that, I am reading a brilliant little book called "Steal Like An Artist" which says that we should all be 'stealing' (i.e. keeping a record of) everything that appeals to us, so that we can feed it into our own work later. We should keep a 'Swipe File' in a scrapbook or on our pc's to refer to whenever we need a bit of inspiration.This isn't about copying images, but the ideas and thoughts behind them, so our own images are original creations based on whatever we have experienced along the way. I'll be bringing this idea to my students in future!
Which reminds me of all the things I have to do when I get home to Malta tomorrow - start organising my next First Friday Gallery (Feb 1st), advertise the Japanese Drawing workshop in my studio (Feb 3rd), think about having a Birthday Party (hoorah!), set up some new painting and drawing courses, confirm the dates of my landscape exhibition, which has been postponed because of the election in March, chase somebody that owes me some money :-), cuddle my cats until they squeak (yes I'll do that first!) and then see how my studio has fared without me..... oh, and try to lose some of this weight!
So tomorrow it will be farewell to the grey skies of London and HELLO!! to the blue skies of Malta.
From home to home.....
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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