We had another fine day here in Irvine yesterday with mainly bright skies and a pleasant breeze. It certainly seemed to bring folk out and down to the harbour side and that meant that we had a good number of visitors to the Courtyard during the day.
It’s amazing quite how often I’m asked about the long thin, (76 x 23 cm) paintings and this question was raised once again by one of the visitors yesterday. People realise that these paintings are not in a standard format, say, three by one or four by one and can’t quite figure out why I chose 76 x 23 cm as the size for a painting.
I would like to be able to answer that it was all worked out with a fiendishly clever formula I’d come up with, based on mathematics and aesthetics …….but dream on Salmon, in reality it all came down to some heavy rain, a dislike of getting wet and in short ….laziness on my part!
I’d been working, as usual, on two or three different paintings but by mid afternoon had ground to a complete halt on each. I was having one of those days where every bit of paint I mixed was the wrong colour and if I did get that right, then I put it down in the wrong place. In short, all of these paintings were looking dreadful and it seemed like it was either time to give up for the day, or to start a completely new painting. One of my ‘better’ traits is being rather stubborn and on this occasion I really wasn’t going to be beaten by a stupid bit of paint …..I was going to start a completely new painting and this time get it right.
The only trouble was, that on going to where I kept my painting boards, I found I’d run out. Nothing for it ….I’d just have to walk the mile up to Homebase and get some more wood cut…….only to realise that it had just started to rain really hard. When I’m on the hill and have all my waterproof gear, then I’m quite happy about a little rain, but getting soaked walking to and from Homebase with no waterproofs to wear …well, forget it, I’m far to lazy for that kind of sacrifice! Still not wanting to admit defeat on the painting front, I started poking around behind my work bench and suddenly found a few lengths of board that had been off-cuts…..and yes, you’ve got it, one of these was by chance, 76 x 23 cm.
This must have been a very good day for me because, seeking as I was, to do something different from the three failed paintings I’d been working on, I finally took the plunge with this new strangely sized painting and combined the pastel scribbles of my drawings, with the broader marks of my paintings. The result was very pleasing and has led to much of what I now do. That particular painting also went into an exhibition in a gallery on the Isle of Arran and was bought by a couple on their holiday from Manchester……and a year or so later; they commissioned me to create the biggest painting I’ve ever done!
I’m sure some of you will have heard this story from me before, but, if you, like me, have a slightly lazy side to your character, go with it sometimes, occasionally it can work out for the best!