Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Another blast through Cardiff

It was wet, very wet, soaking wet in Cardiff today. I forced myself to get up very early to beat the traffic and I made it. When I left the city the traffic was manic. Along with a number of middle aged men I wandered through the racks of pyjamas and nightwear in Marks and Spencers. They were doing better than me at making choices. All the while the music blasted out "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir".  At 9am on a wet day in Cardiff there wasn't a lot of interest.
The staff in the stores were brilliant but even they, and the bright Christmas music, couldn't seem to put a smile on the face of the shoppers who ploughed through the rain trying to catch up on a hundred and one things to do before they could relax for Christmas.
Cardiff Market had pheasants and also a mixture of venison and wild boar for a pie. Now that put a smile on my face. This feels like Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

All the talk is of Christmas

I travelled by train to London last week through countryside heavy with frost - it was real Christmas card scenery. Now I'm back in Cardiff and with the holiday so close I know I am not going to get to the studio for some weeks. It hardly matters. We'll be in Wales for Christmas and Germany for New Year and thoughts of work are far away.

Monday, 10 December 2012


Frustrating day; traffic solid in the centre of the city and parking a nightmare. Big mistake to take the car to the studio this close to Christmas. I spent 5 hours trying to finish a painting, anxious to get it done before the holiday. When I left I thought it was OK but I want it to be more than that. It will be next week before I can get back to the studio and I keep thinking how good it would have felt to have had that moment of excitement this afternoon knowing that the painting had gone well. Instead I'm left dissatisfied and won't feel at ease until I'm able to work on it again.  

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Today on the radio they said it was the first day of winter. I think it started earlier; the trips to the studio have had me clutching my coat and scarf tightly to avoid the fierce wind. This morning you could see the frost but the sun was shining. I know from living in Finland not to trust the sunny bright days - they are often the coldest!
I'm reviewing the week whilst waiting for the Wales v Australia rugby match to start on TV.
I went to a party made up almost exclusively of painters I hadn't seen for a while. It was invigorating that all the talk was of painting. An oasis in the desert!
I continued work on a large canvas - one day so long that I arrived home later than planned and had to call into the Off-Licence to pick up some sustenance. The wine I like is from Beziers (Betty Blue country). It's the favourite of the wine store owner and his supplies are low. With apparently no possibility of getting more it's debatable as to who will finish the stocks first him or me.
A four hour lunch with a friend,another painter, came in the middle of the week. We discussed our inability to leave a canvas in what we call an embarrassing state which often leads to long hours spent in the studio until it had been made less awful.
All this talk of painting circles me during the week and I am left wondering what it's all about. It's hard, it's sometimes depressing - not being able to get it right; I question why I put myself through it and I have no answers except that I don't feel I have a choice. There is that one magical moment -that excitement, that frisson when I finish a painting and I feel it's right. But it doesn't last. I've already moved on to the next canvas.
The crowds in the Millennium Stadium are singing Delilah - time to go.