Monday, 25 April 2011

Even the boats wore coats.

   Another day out in a studio by the sea with the landscape painters this past Saturday.  We returned to the little fishing town of Gamrie, a place we visited last October, and which I have written about before.  This time I felt pressured to make a landscape myself.  No one was holding a gun to my head, of course, but I sort of painted as if someone were.

A thing to line the back of a drawer.

Or maybe a thing to put above a desk as a warning: "paint for yourself only, or else you will paint other people's paintings".
  I do not like this painting.
It does its job well enough, I suppose, in that it shows the view from the window... but maybe I don't feel that it is a job worth doing, for me personally.  The colours in the photograph of the painting are bad too, which doesn't help as I look at it now, but even the original seems to me very dull and very pointless.  I had no interest in painting this, and it is meaningless to me.

As I was finishing up my little watercolour chore, the sky soured and the rain started.

When I had started painting, the morning had looked like the dream of a morning.  A light mist hovered around everything, the sky peeked out blue, the gorse almost danced on the bright greens of fresh spring growth.  The tide had been out and there were lines of black rocks on the yellow sand.  Way down the beach, the sea glowed turquoise.

By the end of the painting the sea had hauled herself back up on to the shore, where she sat motionless, as glum as the sky.  The people in the houses started fires and the smoke chased all the birds from the rooftops.  The hills turned dark and the colour went out of everything.

I had been planning to go for a walk along the coast once the painting was over.  Instead I drank tea and looked at the paintings of the others.  When the shower let up a little, I did go out for a walk, but it was a rushed one, and I felt shut off from my surroundings.

No walk is a waste though.  Wet hair and sandy boots, I made my way up past the harbour, through the little houses where people shut themselves away all day.

A group of young men was screaming at the end of the pier.

Oh, but days like that are good for something.  They are a reminder not to turn away from the things that are really important.  Passion is a thing that moves in two directions.


  1. What a refreshingly honest piece about lack of inspiration. You are so right that we cannot understand passion and inspiration without their mirror images. All those days of disillusionment, lacklustre drawings, projects abandoned in disgruntlement, grey days: they fade into the background when the sunlight pierces through and you get one moment of joy and connection. Or so I hope.

  2. I hope so too! And I think so.

    These disenchanting moments are a funny subject to write about. I think people must avoid saying anything about them because they are afraid it's contagious or something, or that blogs are only for super positive moments. I think it's nice to have some balance though. Glad you think so too!

    Enjoy the wedding this weekend... it looks like you are all set!