Other than bits and pieces, I've painted nothing at all since the last posting; slumped into a period of masterly inactivity. Why? I don't know - (isn't that helpful?)
I get these periods though, and I think many of us do; there are some painters possessed of such joie de vivre that they can paint a new picture every other day. I've never been a bit like that... Every now and then, despite having sketchbooks a-plenty with ideas for paintings, I just can't think what to paint next; or whether I should even bother to paint at all.
This is highly unprofessional, of course - but if this is the way your mind works, I don't know what you're supposed to do about it. I suppose I could churn out pot-boilers - the sort of painting that you can do in your sleep, requiring you to learn and do nothing new - but even if I were selling more often than I am at present, I wouldn't want to do that.
Just in case you have the same problem, I can only suggest you don't beat yourself over the head about it: you're not alone, and I don't think it's helpful to try to force yourself to paint - you'd be able to do it if people were banging on your door with commissions, but if they're not, it really doesn't matter if you fail to add another painting to your canon for a month or two. The more pressure you put on yourself, the more you worry and fret and blame yourself for your laziness, the less you'll feel you want to get the paints out again.
You're allowed to have a rest sometimes. So just stop, and do something else.
And I HAVE just started a new oil painting - in that I've laid on the Imprimatura in thin Scarlet Lake, and painted in the basic drawing with a turpsy wash of Burnt Umber - it's gone no further than this as I sit here pretending not to notice it, but it will. And I feel much happier in consequence, because something is actually happening.
Joint exhibition with friends from the Vectis Artisans painting group in Quarr Abbey, near Ryde, from March 19th - will this one be ready in time? I don't know, but I'm not going to pressure myself into finishing it, even though I've got all this time to do so: can't handle this sort of urgency any more.... Am I getting old?
Of course you are, you senile old fool.
I may post the preliminary drawing in a bit, so you can see the task I'm lumbered myself with.