My street is lovely, the view is lovely and I have painted it loads of times but never from life. So I usually stand inside (all be it near the door) and paint what is outside from a photo. I have thought previously that it is a bit ridiculous but have always been comfortable with photos.
So yesterday was a first for me. It was a bit scary and I was quite disorientated just looking at the street because there were no boundaries or edges like in a photo and I couldn't say for instance , that house is half way up the page or it finishes here at the side ,or even lets draw a line here as a checking device.
I was out on the street attempting to paint from life because my friend Eevi was round and she was doing it. She always paints from life. I've only done it once before.
So we got organised with two cute little chairs that came with the studio when I bought it. They were just the right height to sit on and put your paints and stuff on the ground..
Eevi got started right away and I tried not to panic about where do I start, where do I put the horizon, where is the bottom of the painting, where are the edges, somebody tell me what to do!!
So as Eevi got going with what seemed like relative ease, I decided that I wanted the flowers to be an important part of my painting cause I am awfully proud of them. I have been watering them and feeding them , instead of ignoring them, and they are just gorgeous.
I felt so ignorant! I have all these paintings, sold hundreds over the years, painted this street countless times and I just didn't know how to get going and apart from deciding that the flowers were to be in it ,I was still stuck.
But eventually I decided I would just need to pick something and begin. I drew a rough approximation of the view but the edges kept changing. Oh how I longed for a photo with nice edges. One of these things made of card where you look through it and pick your view would maybe have helped but I had been sitting twiddling for so long that I didn't think I should put off painting for any longer.
So somehow I got on and did it. It looked horrible for ages and I had to trust it was going to get better eventually. (That naturally was when one of the neighbours decided to come and have a look!)
So we sat there in the sun and got on with it. Gradually mine began to take shape. ( Eevi's had been good from the beginning.)
Then it was lunch time and from on high (two stories up) lunch was delivered in a carrier bag on the end of a piece of string, by my very kind neighbour Nella, who had made us my favourite courgette fritters and also some kind of chicken. She has been doing this for at least half the time I have had my studio here and so I have been lucky enough to taste lots of authentic Italian food. She's a great cook and I am lucky to know her.
After lunch we carried on , only interrupted by two dishes of ice cream arriving by the same delivery method, until it got very dull and eventually rained. But we both finished.
It was so very nice (once I got over my inital panic) to paint with someone else. To see my view through someone elses eyes and in a different style. Now I want to do it again!
So if anyone is in my area I would be delighted to have company painting in the street.