24 October 2009

Meltroot or Beelon?

Here is one of those incursions I mentioned. When I am painting I sometimes forget to eat, and when I remember I am already too hungry to wait long for something to pass the lips. Today I decided to tackle the melon that had been making my refrigerator smell (I wonder why melons are so pungent?) When I cut it open this is what I saw:

What is going on? Has a beetroot moved in? If so, is it a meltroot or a beelon? I would love to know. It crossed my mind that it might be a mould, but I cut the red bit out and ate it anyway – the melony bit – I didn't dare try the red part. That was a while ago and I am still here and do not appear to have grown horns or green hair.

So, back to painting. During the time I was preoccupied with the backcloth I was delighted to be asked to produce, at rather short notice, a painting of a house for a birthday present. The last time I was commissioned to do a painting of a house it was a rose covered cottage in Dorset, England. I was packing up to move house myself at the time and forgot to take a photo of the painting.

This time it was an old house being restored in the French countryside. It was the height of summer and sizzling hot. So in the mornings I tackled the backcloth for the theatre and in the afternoons I sat under a tree and boiled in the suffocating breeze and 40 degree temperature.

One afternoon when I arrived to work I left the boot (or trunk) of my car open to have access to my materials. I filled the water basin, wetted my paints and sat down to work. At that instant, behind me and close by, a combine harvester started up and blasted the car, myself, and all my carefully prepared materials with chaff!

People say: "How lucky you are to be able paint, it must be so relaxing."


Well, not as far as I am concerned anyway.

I managed to finish the work in time for the birthday. The recipient and commissioner were pleased, so I was pleased too.

Here is a small part of it. The cat never stayed in one place for long. All the animals – sheep, dog, cat, poultry – were continually moving; the dog (a sheep dog) in particular.


At different times the cat, the dog, chickens and a small flock of sheep came to sit or wander by me. The collie was forever trying to herd the chickens, they would run off into the bushes squawking and the collie would settle down again keeping a watchful eye as the birds progressed out of the bushes to peck around....and then she would rush at them again! The sheep were very interested in my painting materials as an addition to their diet.

Apart from the intense heat it was a very pleasurable experience and a complete change from the mornings spent hunched over the enormous backcloth. I hope I get asked to do more like this.

Here is the dog and a chicken, running away from the dog.

The next blog will probably be about illustrations I was commissioned to do for a book – a salutary tale........to follow soon.

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