Saturday, 31 December 2011

Polly's Progress

Polly the Plymouth Strawberry

So after a four day Christmas break I am back on Polly. I did a lot of sewing over the holiday and it has to be said that I really enjoyed doing something different! However, with a deadline looming I have to get cracking on with this diploma portfolio. I started work in the morning, but it didn't go very well so I did a blogpost about what's happening in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery over Spring time instead. Then I returned to Polly - still the same problems - no flow. It always seems to take me hours to get back 'into' a painting and I have been so tired lately that my body feels like it would rather just sit down and watch a film. 

I had a long bath. Which was delightful. Then I picked up a brush and felt like I wasn't making much progress again!

I went to watch Jane Eyre on the television which is my favourite story of all time. That I enjoyed, with a nice pot of loose tea, and before it finished, at 3pm, I finally felt like I could paint. I cut the programe short and went upstairs. I did an intense two hours and then went back down to watch Downton Abbey's Christmas special when my neck began to hurt. Then I sat for another intense two hours painting Polly. 

Finally going to bed at about midnight!

Polly's roots

It is very frustrating when this happens. It isn't procastination, more like an emotional energy, which I need before I can tap into any creative thought. I need to be stirred by something. That certain something Jane Eyre and Downton Abbey had (Jane Eyre more so). I wish I could get up and just get on with it like I did with the 2011 Grapes and Sally, but it isn't working becuase I am currently very stressed about the looming deadline and how little time I have. I realise the deadline is in March, but I have counted that I have only 19 full days off between now and then. Madness.

You simply cannot rush these things. It usually takes me 10 days (of 8-12 hour days) to do one.

So, I will keep you informed, but I am really starting to feel the strain. I may call Pam this week to explain the situation. I also have to somehow 'create' a sketchbook as well. With time so short over the past two years, I just worked straight onto the paper with no sketchbook work. Risky, but I like a risk.


  1. Oh dear Jess - you may be taking a risk but that's what I love about the way you work. You are painting from inside - rather than being too structured - and that's where magic can happen. But we can't force that magic. I love the explanation of what you did - I must try different things too - sometimes I just get cross with myself. Why don't you give yourself permission not to meet the deadline, as though you have made your mind up - perhaps things will fall into place - they do that sometimes - you have nothing to lose because if it works you win and if it doesn't there wasn't a lot you could have done to change it anyway. Sometimes I just pick up lots of botanical books and that old energy comes in because I love this art so much ... xxx

  2. Hi Rebecca and a Happy New Year for tomorrow. I love the delicacy of Polly, especially those gorgeous roots. :)

  3. Vicki - you are a star! I think that way of thinking may crack it for me... I will adopt your plan wholeheartedly as it might just work and help me relax. My mum who is a ceramicist loves a deadline and finds it makes her more productive, but I am not like that at all. Thanks for your kind words. I really hope it will work out. :)

  4. Thanks Julie. I had a look at Pinocchio and he looks great! Can't wait for the cyclamen... any names for it yet? You can't have Ceril as that is the name of the Cycad in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery I am afraid :P

  5. Thanks Claire... Happy New Year to you too!

  6. Jess, Polly is looking great and she is such an interesting plant, one that holds a special importance to you. If it's any consolation, I find it very difficult to get back into painting after a few days break. Honestly I sit there thinking, I can't paint! You are a very fast painter and Ithink you are already miles ahead of the rest of us. I agree with your best, don't get stressed over deadlines...if you are late, it is NOT the end of the world. Life is just too short for stress. Xxx Shevaun

  7. Hi Jess, I only just saw this - it looks fantastic, really love your Polly and your composition and the work you've done so far. I'm still in the sketching and planning stage of my second piece, so you really are miles ahead. I am sure you will make it Jess, for extreme situations we have energy stored in us, that we never knew we had. Just take one day at the time and little by little you get closer to the finishing line. Wow, I can't see it yet either, but we will get there! You have a diploma to collect and I want to see you there too... :))) xxx

  8. Thanks for your kind words Sonja. Great to hear from you. Thanks for all your encouragement - really nice to hear :) I hope all your work is going well.