Large and small, indoors and out

Sunday June 19, 2005

I try to be adult about it, I really do. And, being fair, I reckon I succeed around fifty percent of the time, which isn’t bad in these paranoid times. What am I talking about? Why, the feeling that everyone and everything is out to get you, that’s what.

Today would have been a good day for paranoia, if I’d let it. The hosting service for my website has been up and down for the umpteenth day in a row, and they’ve managed to lose my stats, again. The BT broadband service has been flicking on and off like a Chandlerian neon sign, all day. Varnish that simply will not dry. And, to cap it all, even the garden has been out of bounds to me for most of the day, because it’s like a steam oven out there. Yes, it’s been a day when paranoia could well have come out to play. But it didn’t. I managed a state of happy equilibrium in the face of all of it.

“They’re not really out to get me,” I said. “It just feels that way.”

“How much does it feel that way?” Graham asked.

“Oh, enough,” I said. “Enough for me to be able to laugh it off.”

“Well that’s alright, then.”

Actually, it was alright. Sure, I had to take it easy, and there were a couple of periods during the day when the combination of heat and humidity had me gasping for air after a bit of unwise exertion, but all in all I’ve been able to keep comfortable. And idle, of course.

Not entirely idle. I managed to find and successfully bid for what looks like a perfect combination tasklight and magnifier on eBay, and the seller’s feedback indicates I’ll receive it pretty damn quick. That’s a pleasing prospect. I do most anxiously want to finish both the fridge magnet and the postcard projects. Nine fridge magnets left to do, and about the same number of postcards. I have several other ideas for miniature painting projects, and want to press on with them. I’m thinking in terms of several series of little things, like the fridge magnets, not doing more than a dozen or less of any particular item. There’s nothing to stop me doing a second series later in the year, or next year, but I don’t want to risk feeling that I’m running a production line here. And I really, really want to get out and do some oil studies for much bigger paintings, too. While I love painting and sketching miniatures, I still have a need for big paintings, bigger the better.

I was a little alarmed to find that very large ready-prepared canvasses are prohibitively expensive these days when bought from the artstore. I mean, I wouldn’t pay that much for a finished painting, leave alone its support. I could go back to artschool student methods of course, and make my own. I doubt I’ll do that; haven’t the manual skills or strength to make and stretch very large canvasses any more. So I am thinking of delving even deeper into my art school days and painting on large panels of hardboard (I think it’s called high-density fibreboard these days). Back in the fifties I worked on a number of eight by four panels[1] and can remember no great snags in the painting or the subsequent display and longevity of the results.

Whether or not Graham will let me take over his workshop for such purposes remains to be seen…

I wonder if any of those big old panels survive from the early 1950s? I somewhat doubt it. They were painted as part of a group effort for the assembly hall of a school that is no more. Hey ho. I’ve no way of finding out but they’re all there in my head, lined up, full of vigour and hope, just as we students all were back then. And our art masters, too, ballsy, loud men, taking life by the scruff of the neck and shaking every last erg of satisfaction from it. At least that’s my recollection of the way Britain was in the early 50s. New Elizabethans we called ourselves back then.

Hum. Where was I? Oh, yes, paranoia. I seem to have avoided it today, at least. So that’s a good thing.

And, last thing, the weather relented a little. A bank of cloud built up to the West, filled with lightning and rumbling away like my tummy after over indulging in roast beef. Very Spielberg. Except for the tummy part, of course. The storm, if storm it was, stayed away in the distance, but the temperature fell a few notches, and the air felt a lot kinder, less filled with harvest dusts and other unpleasantness.

I’d like to think that the temperatures and humidity levels will ease off over the next few days. I can cope perfectly adequately, and there are plenty of low impact indoor things for me to do, but I could really do with a few outdoor excursions.

[1]  That’s eight by four feet imperial, standard builder’s size.



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