Wednesday, July 10, 2019

In the studio

Sibylle and Emil on Spiddal Beach

The finished painting

These days I am painting more than ever and finally finishing the book John and I are collaborating on. He says I tend to go from zero to 50 really quickly (the initial enthusiasm for a new project), then to 95 soon after, but then the remaining five per cent get dragged out. For me the last five per cent are usually a mixture of 'it's not as good as I wanted it to be and I need to start again' and frustration surrounding technical problems - I am self-taught in InDesign and Photoshop, and there are some gaps in my knowledge that are ultimately time-consuming and draining. I hasten to add that I do not procrastinate like this when there is an official deadline, so perhaps I have been too lax about working as part of a husband-and-wife team.

While I appreciate having a type-A high achiever by my side who always pushes me to do better and whose compliments often come with a flip side, I am proud of myself for having completed so many illustrations and paintings since my diagnosis. It has been therapeutic, and getting lost in something you are passionate about is the perfect antidote to scanxiety and worrying about the future.

Projects aside, the painting flows more easily now that I just paint whatever I feel like and have stopped worrying about themes and writing artist statements that could be straight from the arty bollocks website. It is so liberating, and the themes emerge after a while - I think I have always been drawn to the stream-of-consciousness approach to art-making.

I have been painting sea- and landscapes and family portraits and am working on a life-size (!) self-portrait, in the largest format I have ever worked in. To balance it out I am also painting mini canvases of nature studies.


I am watching The Durrells on Netflix. It is wonderfully escapist, and I only regret not having read the books first - they are on my list. My sister is also a fan, and as a seamstress extraordinaire she has been inspired by Louisa Durrell's wardrobe, in all its high-waisted 1930s glory. It is a pleasure seeing her latest creations whenever we meet up.