Friday, 28 May 2010

No time to paint

Years ago I read a book by an author whose name I can’t recall, entitled “No time for work”. It was a memoir of an Irishman’s long career of work avoidance, it was very, very wrong, (particularly the time he spent as a teacher,) but incredibly funny.

At the moment though, there seems too much work. So much that I haven’t picked up a brush all week. My summer courses are getting nearer, bookings to be dealt with and preparation, as well as advertising to be done. The first one is nearly fully booked, but the next two are not, so that needs working on. Unable to do Suffolk Open studios due to the impending house move, I have  at least entered a couple of local exhibitions, these as usual require paperwork, submissions, turns taking stewarding etc. This week in addition to my normal Saturday morning class there is a mosaic workshop I am doing in the afternoon. Same venue; teach class, come home, swap equipment, go back. Of course it’s nice to be busy, but there is little time to paint, or to catch up with the internet work and website updates I need to do.

At my class last week someone bought in a photo to work from, I was rather taken by it. Not the photo itself you understand, but the fact that it was laminated. I have never been a fan of the recent obsession to encase everything in plastic, but I am having a lot of trouble keeping the photos I use for classes in good condition. My Saturday class has 13 students, and about just over half the time we work from photos. I never use them for still life or flowers, but they are necessary for boats, landscapes etc. And I am afraid they get spoiled. I don’t blame the class, I have done it so many times myself, water or paint splashes and splatters, and there goes another photo that was costly to print, or that was saved from a long discarded magazine. So this morning my new laminator arrived from Amazon, and now I can begin the process of laminating about a zillion pictures.

This coincides with the arrival a few days ago of my super new filing cabinet for the studio. It is currently in the front room downstairs; I can’t be bothered to drag it upstairs to my office when I move so soon. It is not normal apparently to be so enamored by a filing cabinet, but for someone who loves organisation as much as me, it’s the best thing in the world. So all the old files are being sorted out, labels are being made and it will soon contain business, car, household paperwork and the new laminated photos, in categories obviously. So that is adding extra work, and lets not even mention the tax return…

My friend R visited this week, she is a proper (school) art teacher. “Students,” she said “Drain you of your creative energy” Well I love my students, and enjoy teaching, but it’s an interesting thought.

One of my favorite sayings at home is “I bet Van Gogh didn’t have to deal with this sort of crap” and I said it again when I discovered my daughter had spilled half a bottle of shampoo over her karate suit/sports bag. From an early age I have taught her that spills must be dealt with immediately, so of course she left it all weekend without telling me. Long enough for the brown belt (yes she is surprisingly good) to seep its colour onto the karate trousers. It doesn’t help that the washing machine has died and I am now driving laundry over to the new house 3 times a week.

And on the subject of teenagers, they are often underestimated in terms of how resourceful they can be. So here is a tip for teens, learned last week from my own clever daughter: It is important for teenagers at all times to have access to computer games and other virtual entertainment, lest they be forced to spend too much time in the real world (boring.) If the batteries to your Wii Sports Resort remote should run out, be aware that you can swap them for the ones in your parent’s new cordless computer mouse. Wait ‘til they are out obviously. Whilst you are in the office help yourself to any stuff you need like sellotape etc. Don’t worry if the batteries you put in are leaking that acid stuff, just remember the teenage mantra (deny everything, deny everything.) This will save you the exhausting business of working out how the battery charger works, and give you some additional entertainment, as your irate parent tries to work out what on earth is up with the mouse, and why the sellotape has disappeared again.

So with an office that looks like an explosion in Staples, a teenager on a mission to send me insane, laundry problems, and no time to paint there is only one thing to be done. Book a course. I always do this when I need to re-charge creatively and just find time to put paintbrush to paper. So on Tuesday I am doing a screen-printing taster day (I have never done screen printing ever, so should be fun), and next month I am doing a short garden painting course, I go most years, to the artist who taught me to paint. Because attending classes is relaxing and inspiring, but teaching them, whilst rewarding, is hard work.

The good news this week is that we have had the go ahead from the planners to put the new studio up. A base must first be laid though, and sadly my boyfriend is also too busy working. His company has put him on 12 hour night shifts and all he does is eat, sleep and repeat himself a lot (sleep deprivation.)

Well I knew this summer would be trying, so I am keeping a picture in my head: Beautiful new garden studio, organised filing system and an lock to keep out teenagers, erm I mean intruders…


  1. It'll be interesting to hear how the screenprinting goes - I find it addictive! It can be very messy though!

  2. wow, I won't complain about what I thought was my busy schedule. Hopefully you get some peace and quiet soon.
    I just heard a comedian say about her teenagers,"Once we took them to the park to play, now we just take them on mood swings. As a mother of a 37yr, 27yr and 18yr old I can tell you it does get better, but the wonderful sense of humor you have really helps

  3. sorry, I don't know how I got on here twice, maybe you can get rid of one of me.

  4. I hope Michele does not get rid of any of you Country Mouse. Busy is probably good. Lamination means your visual aids will last for ever and will one day be dug up by archeologists pondering who, when, why? I have never done screen printing. Want to know how it goes for you? Mike