Well, here it is, my studio's first offering. It's small, it didn't do as it was told and I nearly threw it out of the window a couple of times but, although I'm not completely convinced the person I have painted it for is going to like it, I think it's a good start...
My 6 year old daughter Eloise has got to be one of my favourite people to visit exhibitions with. I love the fresh eyes she brings to the shows she sees. She has no pretensions, she says exactly what she feels with no hint of self consciousness and seeing shows through her eyes, accompanied by her rather insightful commentary, has to be one of my favourite things to do.
This week-end I took the family to the Royal Academy of Art to wander around the Summer Exhibition. My husband strolled around with the interest of a stranger in a foreign land, pushing my 2 year old son in his pram who busied himself enthusiastically pointing out all the exhibits depicting trains, boats and any other modes of transport he is currently passionate about. Eloise on the other hand examined the rooms meticulously, deciding what her favourite piece was in each room (a game I'll admit I play in my head when visiting most exhibitions), what she liked least and commenting concisely on what she thought their merits were...or were not.
The thing is, you would have thought that with my influence, Eloise would have the same taste in art as me...but you would be wrong. Eloise’s taste is much darker than mine and we don’t always engage with the same exhibits. At the end of our tour of the exhibition’s many rooms I asked her if there was anything she particularly liked that she would like to have a final look at before we left. She took us immediately to her favourite piece; a coffin made from chicken bones, batteries, bottle tops and other modern day detritus. It was a world away from the beautiful abstract I had chosen as my favourite to which, when I pointed it out to Eloise, she shook her head, tutted and quickly retorted “Oh no Mummy, it’s just like one of yours.” Sigh...Although I would love my work to resemble the painting in question, I don’t think it was meant as a compliment...but how boring it would be if she shared my tastes and views.
As it is she is a priceless and unique source of inspiration. What wonderful discussions and disagreements we’re going to have as she gets older. I really can’t wait.
Well, here I am, sitting in my spangly new studio...without the first clue what to do next. My shelves are lined with jam jars filled with brushes, pots of paints and endless possibilities all within easy grabbing distance, the late afternoon sun is shining through a smear free window onto my new white desk which is clear and ready for whatever project I embark upon next, the floor is spotless, the sink gleams...it all looks rather neat and tidy.
My mind on the other hand is a butterfly house of fluttering ideas and the pocket notebook I carry around with me most of the time in order to jot down things I’d like to do as they occur to me has become rather overworked and crowded recently. I’ve got so many lovely things to be getting on with, I just can’t decide what it is that I want to do first.
Whatever I decide upon, I’m determined that it will be the first step towards getting this beautiful new studio a little ragged around the edges. I really hope that this time next year, I’ll be sitting in my not so spangly studio, my shelves a little less organised but still lined with endless possibilities, the afternoon sunlight shining through a window I have been too busy to clean onto a desk covered with paint spills and ideas, 3 projects on the go and a new note book as full as the first...without a clue what to do next.