when nothing goes your way

Today is just one of those days that no matter what I do I mess up.

I opened my car door today to find that all the water from the rear footwell was gone. Great, I thought. Then I realised why. My sketchpad, my full sketchpad, my sketchpad full of things for my interview that I had been writing in at Em’s yesterday, had fallen into the water and soaked it all up. SHIT.

I went to the library to cheer myself up and get new art books to take away with me for the week. I was starving and wanted to leave to get food but stayed for 45 mins picking the right ones as you can only have 10, and working out which ones to take back so that I could get the right ones I needed. This involved a pile system of yeses, nos and maybes and a lot of deliberation while trying not to faint from lack of food. I finally decided on my 10. Phew. Took them to the desk and gave a pile, took back a pile, gave some old ones back, took some new ones, paid some change off my fine, done. Lugged the really heavy massive art books to the car and then one of them looked familiar. Not just familiar because I had been looking at it in the library familiar. But familiar in the kind of ‘I’ve had you on my shelf at home for a month already familiar’. Not only did I come the closest I ever had to actual death by starvation during the chosing process, so much so that I wasn’t even sure I could drive home without blacking out, but the result was that I had just taken out all the books that I had already had for a month and had taken to the library to return. Words escape me at this point. Could I be arsed to go back to the library to do the whole process again. Could I ****!!!

I drove home, still clinging onto life by a thread and hoping that my body will choose to take its fuel from my little love handles that I can’t get rid of, as I went see a photography exhibition at Caerleon Uni, so wouldn’t be able to stop for food and I would need to be able to stop somewhere that would let me pay for a mars bar with a credit card (cash no longer exists in my jobless excuse for a life). I have written down in my diary to go to this exhibition everyday for the past 2 weeks and today was the day that I would finally fit it in. The photography course at Caerleon is an internationally known course, and I couldn’t wait to see the work there. I intended to write notes about it in my soaking wet sponge formally known as an expensive moleskine sketchpad, and take it to the interview. So I park and go to reception. Noone appears to have heard of this exhibition. I wander around. I find a girl who was trying so hard to be different from everyone else by wearing two different coloured shoelaces that she must have been an art student, and asked her if she knew anything about it. She didn’t (no, why would you, you’re too busy trying to look like you know about art to actually have time to look at any art), but she offered to take me to the department. I snuck around once I was there trying to give myself an impromptu and probably slightly illegal open day and went into lots of rooms that had staff only all over them, to see if I want to go there for my course. I asked at the desk about the exhibition and noone knew anything about it, and the woman actually did some actual sign language to me as she told me this. I know this because one of my whims was studying British Sign Language at uni. The only logical conclusion to this is that my face looked that pissed off, with no inclination to pretend that it’s all ok, that she must’ve assumed I couldn’t hear her. Or perhaps I really was too far down the starvation route to move it. Who knows. Either way, the result is that noone in the entire building had heard about it. The only person who seemed to have some idea was a caretaker man who saw someone carrying photos into a room earlier. I stupidly thought I could find said room with a bit of wandering but after 8 failed attempts I decided to go home.

So here I am. What a cock up.

Poured a lovely cup of tea and was so impatient to start having a nice relaxing time that I picked it up to drink straight away and burnt my tongue and am wiring this with an icecube in my mouth, while looking online at the advert for the photography exhibition in Caerleon.

Art Gallery and Museum in Chelters

Had a fab day out today wandering and looking at art. Here is stuff from today’s exhibition. Wandered round for ages and found loads of little gems. My fave things to remember for portfolio stuff…

Sutherland’s painting of  Welsh border destruction. Post war house bomb stuff. dark reds, browns, cubist bits, sharpness, wood. Entitled: Devastation – house on the Welsh Border. Date: 1940


Charles Gere – Newham-on-Severn. Below is a different painting in the same still, by Gere…images-2

Roger Ackling – Driftwood. Stripes on it. Part of Exhibition called ‘Surreal Connections: Encounters’ …images

Vanessa Bell: Window Still life 1915, oil on canvas…08

William Scott: Frying pan, cups and eggs, 1973, colour lithograph. LOVED this. very fun.


Sophie Ryder: Minotaur with Acrobats. A bizarre green thing. copper wire. 1997 … below is not the work I saw but similar, and want to remember her to look at again. was a lovely little piece but can’t find it online.


Saw lots of panoramic painting which I’ve never seen. Done in 1764!!! by anonymous artists. Also one done by Thomas Robins the elder in 1745 of Charlton Park…

Saw some 18th c earthenware with weird patterns on.

Also like John Hoskins Standing Figure in steel 1963, a progressive sculptor in South Gloc…images-1Tomorrow I’m going to spend the day drawing horses and their movement. It will help free me up for life drawing in the evening. Will hopefully have done a lot of drawing by the time I go to sleep tomorrow. The 11thMarch (1st interview) is fast approaching.



Feeling really weird. Had a hilarious night with my friends, laughed so much that my throat is sore, but today I’ve felt really low. This morning was great, sitting in the sun, after receiving my letter from Uni inviting me to show my portfolio in 8 weeks, but then as the day has gone on I’ve felt progressively worse. I was so thrilled to get the letter but ever since I’ve been panicking about money and how I will support myself during the course. I am getting so stressed and depressed about looking for work that I can’t relax long enough to be creative at all. I have no doubt in my mind that Art is what I want to do but I’m suddenly viewing it as really indulgent. I feel as though I should be working up a career ladder instead. Perhaps that’s just so drummed into us. It’s something so intrinsically just there in the forefront on my mind. I have to let go of these thoughts long enough to really think about what art I want to do and what I want to focus on, but all I can think about is being 30 when I finish and no closer to getting decent money. I have been speaking to friends all day about this and they have been giving me advice, about how it would be better to do this for 3 years than work in a job I hated for 3 years, how life is too short, how we could die tomorrow and not have ever done what we wanted,  and another one said that they worry about the same things too but that if all you think about is what you are going to do with the course at the end of it, or set yourself set plans now, then you will not focus on the individual art that you are doing at the time and not become as great as you could be, because you wont be giving it your 100% concentration. The tutors on the course talked about how, despite it being obviously necessary to pay the bills and get by, this course should be viewed as a step away from all of that to as great a degree as you possibly can, and to spend the time focussing on your own mind, and your own artwork and to develop as an artist within your own right and if all you are thinking about is how to use this to get a specific job at the end then you will not develop as well as you could and should and would and … have run out…. Arrrrrrrgh, I know all this makes perfect sense but today, for example, it was so sunny and lovely and I should’ve spent it outside painting and taking photographs, but instead I faffed around on job sites for most of it, looking at what sort of arts administration I could do with the degree, totally going against all advice whatsoever, and gaining nothing. Not only could I have spent that time painting, but I could’ve used it to write some research material which I need for my portfolio. Instead I was thinking so far ahead that I did nothing productive whatsoever. I really need to learn to relax. I really need this course. It will slow me down. That’s what I love about painting. It forces you to slow right down to the very moment that you are in, and nothing more. I find that it’s one of the the only times that I can relax fully and not be thinking further ahead than that piece of work and that’s something I need to carry into my actual life too. I need this course on a personal level. I need it to open up the creative side of me, and to get me to let go, and to just be. Not to plan every second but just to get more absorbed in the every day moments. I have spoken to some people recently who have made the decision to exist and be happy instead of work their way up an office job and be miserable but richer. I suppose I have only ever experienced that type of happy existing in Italy when it was a set 1 year away from set progressions. I will have to view this course like this as well, otherwise I wont make the most of it at all. My week away will help me to do nothing but paint and make the most of every day there. I will start a job anywhere, even just in a pub, when I get back. I have to stop thinking of taking a shitty job as a step backwards, because it’s not. It’s funding my giant leap forwards. Hmmmm, what a long rambling mess. Just standard hangover blues and sugar deficiency I expect. Anyway, this is a little oil pastel sketch of some stuff in front of me right now that I drew to switch my brain off from thinking a pile of nonsence. I used it to start practicing some line exploration, and using just 3 or 4 colours, in readiness of the exhibition at the Tate at St Ives that I’m going to view next week, of Ben Nicholson’s work. 


Drive-by photo shooting in Pill

Some pics from a couple of days ago when I had a craving to take some pictures of weirdness. I did the driving and my accomplice did the hanging out the window. We were looking for a bizarre tree that doubles up as a shop (???) but sadly we couldn’t find it. I’s also gutted that Bollywood bargains is shut. Click on pictures to enlarge.


Have started the real painting now on an A1 canvas.

Lots to do but used a grid to sketch it out so I’m hoping it’ll be nice and in proportion, unlike the first attempt! Have put in perfume bottle in (bottom left) for scale.


This is the photo it’s from …