Used-up Paint and Recycled Words

The studio has, temporarily, moved back home.


Of course I have all the wrong things. I’m making do as I’m sure most people are. Restrictions to space, materials, equipment can prove interesting and provide little informative detours in the work. But as I have experienced, sometimes a detour isn’t a detour, it’s the main road.

For the last couple of weeks… or is it three? Four? I’ve been in my armchair and in my sketchbook. This has echoes from a couple of years ago, when I was previously without a studio, for different reasons obviously, and resorting to the sketchbook. Small work, limited choices. Decisions are hard to make in difficult times. Ironically, then, my husband was very ill, but now he’s very well. The treatment makes him vulnerable, but he is well. Thank goodness!

So back into the sketchbook I headed. With watercolour and pencils. I had a new large sketchbook for my birthday, and the paper was a very different, linen-like texture, so the drawing changed to take account. I had also started using up the last dregs of watercolour in a palette, just painting stripes. This became hypnotic, so I started doing it on purpose. Sort of. But like before, I was contained. This is comforting, and needed, but after a while it becomes a bit stultifying.

However, I do recognise that my last period of armchair and sketchbook imprisonment (of my own making) resulted in a change of tack and a new body of work…. Eventually!!

This morning, over breakfast, I realised that with everyone at home, I wasn’t working on anything. Hadn’t wanted to work on anything particularly. I was – in terms of art work – stagnating. I had got loads of housework done though. So having decided I needed to work, I needed to get out my big paper and breathe a bit. Initially frustrated by lack of the usual equipment, I needed to reluctantly recruit another pair of hands to wrestle the big roll of paper into submission.

I had no idea what to do, but knew that I didn’t want to put the paint on in the same way that I’d been doing in the studio. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. 

So… a big fat brush and my favourite Payne’s grey… stroked down the paper. And again. And again. Weird. I had been painting wobbly stripes in my sketch book for months, without it ever occurring to me to go large with it! 

I’m going with it. I know I will draw over it. But what and how isn’t clear yet… but the paint isn’t yet dry so it’s ok.

There will also be text. Torn. Rescued or stolen from other peoples writing. That’s the thing about words. They belong to everyone, can say anything. Words that have been used to hurt can also be used to soothe. Recycle them and use them kindly.



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