Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Russell Square London Plane Tree

It's been a while, but I haven't forgotten you. I am just slowly detaching from the internet and becoming more and more silent. The other day I even practiced a dedicated hour of complete silence. It is rather tricky to do in this house as there is a lot going on, but I managed it the other day. It's a lovely thing to do, although I am discovering how intolerant I am becoming to unwanted interruptions. For example, I don't like it when people to burst into my studio at the best of times, but it's now become a big 'no-no'. I have also asked that no one may enter unless they have permission, an idea I have stolen from Ennio Morricone after listening to a fabulous programme on him on radio 6 which you can listen to here (there is also this one here). I also heard a rather good one on David Lynch over the Christmas Period, which I also recommend as he requests some great tracks and you can here that programme here. Ennio locks his studio and keeps the key on him at all times. He also, rather like Sherlock Holmes, never dusts. I'd very much like to practice this idea if it weren't for the fact that the dust ends up in my paints...

Progress roughly 35 hours in of the London Plane. 

My silence is not only a result of me detaching though, it is also a side effect of something else. A week ago I got a rather big commission which needs to be completed by the 17th January. It's for an A1 sized London Plane Tree. I had hoped that this commission would come in during November, but nothing ever works out as you plan does it?! So I am busy painting like a mad women in my studio trying to get roughly 160 hours of painting done (which is roughly how much I think it is going to take). Despite this being rather hard work, I am enjoying the slog. I haven't sat down so intensely with a subject like this since I was at school. I ache all over and my eyes are starting to feel tired. Last night I got up from the drawing board and lost all sense of spatial awareness which was rather funny! I am taking frequent breaks as I think it is important and going for walks still, but the long days do take their toll when one isn't used to it. Anyway, I have managed to nail 50 hours so far and I am happy with how it is going. Musical tastes have moved on from Erik Satie to Jack White and now I am into the radio and catching up on all sorts of things. Mark Radcliffe and Maconie had me in stitches yesterday, which I suppose isn't ideal when holding a brush, but it lightened the soul. I think it was the Christmas Eve programme that had me in fits of laughter, especially after 1 hour and 17 minutes in when Mark Radcliffe goes a bit all over the place.

I have just realised that it is in fact New Years Eve today, (crumbs - I have lost all sense of time), So I'd like to wish you all a very happy New Year! I hope you all have something sensational planned for tonight. I think we might be heading down to the 'Old Mans Bar' (as our neighbour likes to call it) for a tapas or two. 


  1. Hi Jess
    Looks very good to me already, those wonderful greens again, but then it would be difficult without, with this subject matter. Was the Ginko a bit of a practice ? I feel there is some similarity but then it quite possibly is the expression of your 'style'. By comparison I think the smaller size of the Ginko must have been limiting for you. I hope the commissioners will display this work in a prominent place to be enjoyed by many.
    Well this is the life of a profesional artist and long may it continue for you.
    Keep up with the breaks, stretch those joints that are working extra hard & don't forget the
    breathing !

    Till next year - Hasta La Vista Baby !!

    1. I am glad you like the piece Chris. The Ginkgo wasn't a practice... I think it's just my general painting style and both species are (or have) that 'orientalness' about them. Acers, Ginkgos, Magnolias etc... I see them all in the same way (I know the London Plane isn't an Acer, but you get my drift on leaf shape and parental lineage etc). It's those creeping branches... rather 'oriental'. The other reason that they might be similar is they are both paintings are of lower branches, which I guess have their own particular growth habit. It would be nice to be able to climb a tree and actually paint the upper branches, as I guess they are so very different. Couldn't really do that in these cases being municipal trees!

      I am walking 1-2 hours everyday now in the campo. I love it. Sometimes I go out first thing when it's all icy (it's -7 here at night at the moment) and when there isn't anyone around, and then again in the later afternoon as the sun is setting. The light is especially beautiful on the second walk and all the birds are darting about. Saw an eagle the other day - magnificent.

      Anyway - Happy New Year to you! Lets hope it's a good'un.

  2. Happy New Year Jess. I love the Plane tree :)

    1. Happy New Year to you too Shevaun - I hope it was a good night and that 2015 brings you continued success and happiness! I am delighted that you like the Plane Tree. This one has been a labour of love, but I am really pleased with how it is progressing so far too, which is nice, as I haven't had that feeling about my own work for a while. It's great to be able to paint everyday and get into a rhythm. I certainly don't miss having to put the brushes down and go into 'job-work' on the other side of London, it has to be said. I loved my job, but it was very distracting.