e-mail from clive to damian

Dear Muse

The painting is just about done. I’m off to the studio and I will be completing it, I would hope, by mid-afternoon. Yesterday I made some substantial changes to it and with astonishing rapidity that which had been driving me to near despair became whole instead of a poorly assembled patchwork quilt. What a relief! I slept soundly last night, no wandering off to the studio in the small hours!
Peter will photograph it when the daylight has gone and we can set up the studio lamps. It’s going to be bugger to get right as it’s so big to cast an even light over, but Peter did Green George with the same lamps so hopefully he’ll prevail. The painting is due to go on the Artlog before midnight. We’ve had consistently high visitor stats during the progress of this painting, and it’s been a challenge to sometimes show what I have not been happy with at the end of each day at the easel. Yesterdays post, where the unresolved became resolved, made me very happy. Certainly the poem, finished ahead of the painting, impacted it in many ways. Tobias transformed from a brunette to a blonde, I completely re-thought the fish and made the decision to leave the sky an uninterrupted  field of near black. Sigificantly a print-out of the poem lay next to the easel, and as I read and re-read it throughout each day, the tone of it transferred to the panel, aided and abetted by Britten on the CD player. Now poem and painting seem hatched from one egg to me, which is as it should be seeing as they’re twins, though the slow one certainly took his time emerging!
So from now on the painting will not be ‘Tobias and the Angel’, as it has been throughout the process of its creation, but will bear your title, to be revealed when it goes online tonight. I assume that you might one day want to publish the poem and that as such you’d prefer it didn’t appear on the Artlog with the painting. If I’m wrong about this then please tell me, because though clearly it would be lovely to yoke them together I’ll entirely understand if you’d prefer me not to. (I’m happy enough that the poem is to be on the gallery walls, available to all who visit there.)
C xxx

6 thoughts on “e-mail from clive to damian

  1. I spent the day up in London with my family as our son was marching past the cenotaph. He’s onl 12 and was representing Boys Brigade (one of only 30 from around th UK) You have no idea the frustration when your posts came through but there was no signal to look at them! I did manage to read eventually though. All the best with the last part of this painting. I shall keep looking in on your blog though…well you never know you might find you miss us.

    • Oh don’t worry, I’ll continue to blog, but I won’t do another painting diary for a while. This one has been a a marathon and I need a break from that kind of pressure.

      It must have been moving to be at the cenotaph today. There was a special Remembrance Sunday Antiques Roadshow today, and some of the stories had Peter and I speechless with emotion. An inmate of Terezin kept the fragile ring that looked as though it had been made of tin, fashioned and given to her by her fiancé in the camp before he was shipped off. He told her it would protect her until after the war when they would be reunited. He didn’t survive, though she didn’t know that until years later. But his words went deep with her and she survived seven concentration camps, including Belsen, because she believed his promise that the ring would protect her. She hid it from the guards, sometimes by putting it under her tongue. When the allies entered the camp she was at death’s door, found naked with just a
      string around her neck on which she had threaded the ring. It was such a fragile thing, thin as paper, his words to her engraved around the inside of it. A story to tear the heart out.

  2. We’ve had consistently high visitor stats during the progress of this painting
    Visitor traffic may not be the only or even the best measure of blogging success—in fact, I think successful creative collaborations like this one with Damian are a better gauge—but I’m SO happy that your diligence as a blogger is being rewarded! Most artists as busy as you would be forgiven for not being able to spare the extra brain cells to do this. But these painting diaries are an invaluable record of process for an artist at the top of his form, and I think this one has been the most illuminating so far. Awaiting the reveal with great anticipation…

    • Hi Dave

      I know stats alone are nothing to go by. Some visitors swing by on the scent of something other than my work. ‘Toy Theatres’ have been the route in for many people over the past months. Nevertheless enough numbers are coming in having put ‘Tobias’ or ‘Tobias Artlog’ into their search for it to be significant, and the trend throughout the studio diary of this painting has been pretty consistently upward.

      Blogging the process of work on the painting has become balm at the end of long days. Setting aside the bad sessions where I’ve been lost and have felt uncomfortable sharing results that I’ve been less than happy with, I think that keeping the diary and following and responding to the comments has been entirely positive. But I’m glad now that it’s come to an end, and the next painting will be one that I won’t make a diary of. I think occasional diaries for selected paintings is the way forward.

      So… watch this space. It’s 16:30 right now, and painting and poem will be up before midnight.

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