We had the third painting lesson this week. I took an outline sketch of the tonal exercise that we started in lesson one (and which, by now, was becoming a touch tedious) and spent the whole lesson painting the wretched thing for the fifth time. It wasn’t a wild success but at least I didn’t give up until I had produced something like a result. I didn’t get any credit for persistence. Teacher called me “obsessive”.
Now I move on and it gets interesting. We have another seven weeks to go and it seems that, by the end of the course, each of us is expected to paint a picture of a local building. Next, however, our new project is to paint a portrait. We have a pile of reference pictures to choose from but hardly an inspiring collection. Portrait painting is precisely what I want to do and a few weeks ago I decided to paint a series of portraits of well-known celebrities by way of gaining experience. So I am going to paint a portrait of my choosing for this class project and we will see what happens – perhaps there will be something to show here at last.
Meanwhile, other activities have stumbled to a halt to my disappointment so to take advantage of this temporary easing of demand on my time I have launched into the formidable task of reorganising my “den” to make it a bit more user-friendly. This should be the third bedroom but it is exclusively my bit of our small house, where I read, write, paint, play music, etc. It contains a guitar, a full-size five-octave keyboard with stand, the violin, two clarinets, two chairs, two folding desks, a chest of four drawers, Henry’s house, and around 80 feet of bookshelves in heavy, free-standing units. The room is seven feet and six inches square plus a short passageway leading to the door. So you could say that it is a bit crowded. Since Henry ceased to hibernate at Christmas he has lived on top of my chest of drawers in his house (a modified rabbit hutch) and this has reduced my worktop area by more than half. So a few days ago I replaced this lost workspace by making a folding desk to fit directly inside the north-facing window and this will be used for painting.
The layout of the room’s contents needed a major rethink and I concluded that everything needed to be swapped to the opposite side of the room. This meant putting a few things out on the landing at the top of the stairs to make enough space to play musical chairs with the rest of the furniture having first worked out the best order in which to move everything (including emptying and refilling each bookshelf unit in turn) so that nothing had to be moved more often than absolutely necessary (because I find such antics hard work these days). To complicate matters I had to paint two walls that had missed the last redecorating session because they had been covered (or partly covered) from floor to ceiling by bookshelves.
Now the room is back together again with everything in its new position and I have ample tailor-made space for the aforementioned activities so that (for example) I will not need to put things away after painting to make space for music practice – a big improvement..