Sunday, 29 June 2014


About, what, eight months ago, I posted about this drawing I had been working on - the first drawing I'd really done from life for a long time. And it was great fun, and a real re-learning experience from all the life drawing I'd done before uni. I had it tacked to the wall of the old flat, all pencilled up and nowhere to go, mocking me for not feeling like I could paint it. The problem was that I was so proud and pleased that I'd started again, that I didn't want to ruin it, and, truth be told, I'm really not that good at water colour. When I look back at what I did with it at school, I cringe.

But on Tuesday, I was suddenly seized with the idea that not painting it - indeed, leaving it unfinished for ever, was even worse than potentially ruining it. So, for the first time in ages, I unrolled my bag of brushes, and took out the sketch watercolour set I've had for over ten years. And it felt like coming home.

Innit lovely? But look how much white I used to use! Nowadays my feeling is "white is cheatin'" so I've completely avoided it in this one. And now it's Sunday, and I've painted nearly every evening after work and both days of this weekend, and it's nearly... done? 

Early shot after the first hour of work - and yes, that is a high contrast b/w picture of me for shading purposes. I've really noticed how much better things look when I use references. I'm just not good at painting from imagination. Which isn't so good when you're painting a tower of hair full of trinkets you made up. 

And here it is... kinda finished? I don't want to show it properly because I only "finished" it tonight. I need to leave it a day or two to know if anything needs changing. But while I know there are things (particularly non-referenced things!) which could be so much better, I am enormously proud of what I have done. Getting back into this sort of thing has had a massive impact on my day-to-day happiness this week, and my mind just feels better for doing it. There's probably only 3 hours, maybe 3.5 hours of painting here, and it's not the most amazing thing in the world, but I can feel it coming back, and I want to do so much more. 

I've struggled to do any creative work over the past year or so, and now I'm getting back into it, it's like I can feel my brain healing. Overwork had left me tired and grouchy, with no energy, and my brain constantly felt too drained to take anything else on. Over June I have made the conscious effort to drink less, worry less, and try and do the sort of things that will nourish my almost drained mind, but even I'm surprised by how much this little bit of painting has worked. Definitely more to follow.


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