To combat creeping insanity from juggling a million ideas around in my head at any one time, I started painting.
It was very interesting because I realised that painting was probably the first thing I ever did at school. Before I could even read or write. Before I was even properly toilet trained. Barely on solids. Yet I was allowed to paint. Whatever I liked, whatever I wanted, no matter how utterly crap or stupid it was. Cats that looked like pigs, horses like gateposts. Didn’t matter, we were kids. Infants. Toddlers. Babies.
As an adult though the accepted wisdom is that if you’re not Picasso, Van Gogh, or Monet, ‘Don’t give up your day job!
It was why I felt intimidated at first. I didn’t know what I was doing. The only paintbrushes I’d picked up in the past forty years were ones to paint walls with. I didn’t even know how to hold these ones. Like a pencil? A gun? A knife? A spear? Do I make an outline on the paper first or do I just paint? Do I paint what I see or what I don’t.
So many questions blurred my mind and the the phrase ‘Don’t give up your day job?’ rattled round my head like a marble. I nearly gave up and packed up my brushes. Then I realised something: I haven’t got a day job. I don’t even have a job. Plus, does it really matter if my cats look like chickens?
That was last year. Now I paint when I feel like it, as a sort of sedative to soothe my overactive mind. It seems to work. I’m still not as bold as I’d like to be. I still hold back and veer towards traditional views and objects. But perhaps if I continue and gain more confidence, I’ll be able to go deeper into my soul and drag out something really wonderful.
In the meantime here’s a selection.