Painting was always there, a silent friend, my companion, a place to lose myself. However it had also become a bone of contention so for the last ten years I had seldom picked up a paintbrush. When I did the work was hurried, frequently unfinished and in all honesty average.
Now, I stood in my empty back room, the evening light pouring in through the window. The clocks had gone forward, and I was alone, at the time I thought it was going to be forever. The evening stretched out, no food to cook. No-one to complain about the mess. Just me and paint. He was dead.
In the past I had always painted boats, there had been a time when they were even sought after. So, it was boats that I went back to. My daughter called them my happy boats and bizarrely that's what they became. Except now they were my companions on a journey back. The evening light cast shadows in the room, the work was loose rather unformed, finally I went to bed knowing that in the morning it would still be there. Exactly where I left it.
In that first year I decided not to count the cost of anything. I still have no idea what it was, there was trauma after trauma and finally I found my way to a house by the sea where I can stand on my balcony listening to the sound of the halliards ringing. The room has two velux windows and runs the length of the top floor. Painting now takes place between the kitchen table, a much-loved relic from the past, my fridge and my cooker. The table cloth has paint splatters on as does the floor.
Painting still marks stages in my journey. I now paint in oils; the early work was always gouache because I could hide it away quickly. In between times there were the acrylic landscapes. Abroad in Australia, the daughter of my new man gave me her dead mothers acrylic paint and started me on a new and unexpected voyage. We were in a Adelaide hills, in an indescribably beautiful place, I sat outside painting what I saw, canvas from the local cheap shop propped up on an old bench. The Australian series was painted over two or three trips. Along the way I discovered the Australian impressionists. Tom Roberts is now one of my heroes. The light and the dust captured perfectly. From there we followed the step-daughter to The Orkneys and finally there is the commission to paint vegetables for a company filling boxes with organic veg.
I work in London now, I would love to retire to the sea to paint. However, as a self-taught painter I have no provenance according to galleries, however I am not sure I really care anymore. The work and my journey speak for themselves really.