Why am I struggling so much with getting to grips with painting right now?

Partly because my head says ‘paint what you see’ and my heart says ‘paint what you feel’ but so far together they give me such conflicting messages I don’t quite know which way to turn. So I try to paint what I see – simplified, of course – and then add some feeling to it afterwards, which doesn’t always work out the way I want it. Or I paint what I feel and then try to make it look more realistic afterwards, which also doesn’t quite work it the way I want it? And as a result both options often end up looking over-painted, sitting heavy and dull on the paper, neither quite one thing nor the other…

Why can’t I just learn to get the balance right in a way that both looks OK, but also feels OK to me?

Why don’t I just keep on trying, and see what creates itself out of my confusion?

Yeah, I guess that’s what I’ll do… I’ll just keep on trying 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Why

Back to the Drawing Board

Since I started painting again a couple of weeks ago I’ve been playing around with using different types of paint and different brushes and different styles of painting, and I’m really having a lot of fun with it all – I’ve not been bored once! I’ve been exploring and experimenting and taking risks and making mistakes and learning from the whole process, in the hope of finding out what my preferred style might be nowadays?

I’ve tried a couple of things that I now know are definitely not going to be ‘me’ at all – in particular I painted this simplified, stylised seascape in gouache, trying to recreate something similar to the flat printed solid blocks of colour on old seaside travel posters, but I wasn’t comfortable painting it, and I really don’t like the end result so won’t be repeating that particular experiment any time soon.

It’s really hard to get the paint consistency right so the colour always looks flat and not streaky, and of course the outlines have to be sharp and crisp, which isn’t as easy as it looks. As a result, instead of looking smart and sophisticated, this painting looks more like something a child did in art class at school. So it’s back to the drawing board for me on this one, but at least I’ve learned from the experience…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Board/ Bored

The Key to it All

From all the online tutorials I’ve watched recently, it seems to be that the key to ‘good’ water-colour painting is to keep it all light and loose and let the paint do the work for you. When I picture myself painting in my mind’s eye I imagine long flowing strokes sweeping over the page with ease, creatively expressive and elegant.

In reality, left to my own devices I have a tendency to want to keep it all tight and neat and ‘correct’, and as a result I worry away at the paper over and over again trying to get it just right, often ending up with either a flat, overworked ‘nothing’ picture or a muddy mess as all the colours of the rainbow come together in a soggy puddle of brown.

So I watch others paint online and see beautifully light, flowing impressions of things appear as if by magic. I try to replicate the actions myself but at this early stage I really struggle to let go and trust in the paint, and in the process. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, but oh, how I wish I had a key to let me unlock that magical feeling for myself!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

A Win is a Win…

Last night’s EuroMillions Lottery jackpot was £111 million, so although I’m not a regular lottery player I tend to play every now and again when it’s for really big bucks, so thought I’d take a punt just for fun… I mean, you have to be in it to win it, right? I picked up my standard Lucky Dip ticket, where the numbers are chosen at random for you, and my ticket (bought online) cost me £2.50.

This morning I was sent an email to say I’d won a prize, so with the sweet smell of success tickling my nose I clicked excitedly on to my online lottery account to find out exactly how much… And apparently I’ve won the princely sum of £2.60, giving me a whole 10p profit on my initial stake! OK so not really a life-changing lottery win for me, is it, but never mind, a win is a win… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Cent/Scent/Sent


This week’s Photo A Week Challenge is ‘Selfie’ and today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is ‘a picture from wherever’ so here I am with a kind of amalgamation of both… It’s a selfie of me taken last Saturday, sitting in my back garden.

I used to be far too self-conscious about seeing photographs of me, but as I’ve got older it doesn’t bother me nearly so much. I’m 58 years old, turning 59 towards the end of the year, and I am what I am. I used to worry about my hair and my skin and my weight and my clothes, about looking acceptable to the world by what I perceived to be the world’s expected standards of appearance.

And now? Now I see how image obsessed social media has made us all with its fancy portrait filters rubbing out every potential skin blemish, and I worry about my three lovely young granddaughters growing up in such a surface-judgemental environment. So here I am trying to live up to what I tell them about life – always be yourself, you’re beautiful just as you are, and don’t ever let the world tell you otherwise…

And in my selfie I’m sitting in my back garden, in my own little oasis of nature, wearing a flowery dress while relaxing on a traditional-style wooden steamer chair and enjoying the sunshine while it lasted… Oh, for me it’s definitely the simple things in life that make all the difference 🙂

Not Thick, just Less Able…

When we were young judgemental kids growing up we were always cheerily quick to point out someone else’s inability to do or understand something we found relatively easy, and as kids do, we would scornfully label them as being ‘thick’.

Mum always remonstrated with us not to be so hurtful with regard to the inabilities of others, and that if someone was struggling with something it’s not nice to call them ‘thick’, as it’s not their fault they were simply ‘less able’ than others. We had it frequently drummed into us – it’s not ‘thick’, it’s ‘less able’…

So of course me and my sister and brother took this edict as gospel and ran with it in the extreme, having ‘less able’ soup with a ‘less able’ slice of bread and the like, driving mum nuts with our complete exclusion of the word ‘thick’ from our childhood vocabulary in all contexts, regardless…

Even now, in our late fifties, any one of us can still break into a childish grin with a wicked glint in our eye at the mere mention of ‘less able’ foodstuffs… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: A phrase you grew up with

New Shoes

How do you like my new shoes? I love Vans, they’re usually such great fun to wear – these have denim at the toes, patterned canvas on the inner sides and the tongue, corduroy across the heels, and furry leopard print on the outer sides so I guess I’ll be fine unless somebody asks me what colour my shoes are… How exactly would I answer that one? 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: How

Tipping Over the Edge…

Emotionally, I often live my life teetering right on the brink, precariously balanced, far too often constantly on edge and seriously super-charged stressing about stuff of no consequence. I really don’t like being that way, if I had a choice I would choose to be chilled and relaxed and take things easy, but it seems I am simply not built that way. Sometimes my balance is reasonably good and life feels safe and sound and stable, but at other times I see-saw back and fore, flailing wildly in my attempts to remain solidly in place. At times like these it doesn’t take much to tip me over into emotional free-fall, tears pricking hotly behind my eyes and feeling myself in a blind panic over the silliest of things outside of my control… the bus hasn’t turned up as expected and I have a 10-miute wait until the next, only semi-skimmed milk is available when I was looking for skimmed… It’s at times like these I know I’m holding on too tight, but have no idea how to release my vice-like grip and reduce my heightened anxiety… And then all of a sudden with no rhyme nor reason the panic starts to clear and I regain my balance and all is well again – at least until the next time…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Tip