Three years ago I wondered where the hell my life was going and what I was going to do with it. Uncomfortably settling in to the latter part of my 30’s came as a bit of a shock as I had no ‘career’ to speak of. Thing is, I’ve never been fussed on doing jobs that my heart isn’t in. I struggle with them. On the one level they serve the purpose of earning money but on another, deeper level, they’re just soulless. But, it’s up to me to find that something that puts some fire in my belly which, usually, is something creative. Having creative ideas though is one thing but bringing them to fruition is another altogether. My problem lies, I think, with wanting too much too soon and it’s only relatively recently the penny has dropped as to what the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ really means! As  Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” How many times have I heard that before?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised there are two kinds of knowledge: one is what I’ll call ‘logical knowledge’ and the other is what I’ll call ‘experiential knowledge’. Take death as an example. In my life, when I was young, I knew that one day I was going to die. But that was so far (hopefully) in the future that it didn’t concern me at all and there was relatively little death around me other than budgie’s, dog’s or relative’s that I hardly ever saw. As upsetting as losing a pet was (I’ll never forget losing Guiness when I was 15, our wonderful and very dearly loved Bernese Mountain Dog – I think I cried for a week after that one), human death was never close. Until, that is, when you get older. It’s inevitable. And then it sinks in and you know, not just in your head (logical knowledge) but you know it in your bones (experiential knowledge). Well, a similar thing can be said of the sayings I’ve quoted above. Now I understand. How could I have been so stupid? Of course a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I know that. But I’ve realised I’ve only known it logically. To know it experientially is to actually take that first step.

So, back to three years ago and what I was going to do with my life (career wise, anyways). I decided to run with the only thing I thought I was half-decent at and that was drawing and painting. I knew I had a passion for these things and had ideas I wanted to express but I really had to get (and more importantly desired to get) better. So, I joined a beginners art class (I wanted to learn from the bottom) and, after that year’s course was over, I’d just see where I was and what the next step would be. It was then I heard about a two year course that was pretty much a pre-degree foundation course. I joined that and well, that’s finished now and has been for about a month (if you’ve been a recent visitor here you may recall I had chosen to do an oil painting of a wolf for my final project and is the main reason for this post). The result is pretty much a straight copy of the original photo and I did it over a four week period. I had hoped to have longer but it didn’t work out that way. I think I would have done a better job, particularly on the wolf, given extra time but I was still pleased with the result. I’ve gained a bit more confidence from doing it and now have in my possession the largest canvas I’ve ever had and can’t wait to get started (thanks must go to Steve Reeves who knocked up the canvas for me in the few days before college closed for summer).

I’ve also learned more about glazes from this last project which are so handy – saves having to repaint all that you’ve done already.

Well, here she is, the size of it being 50 x 24 inches, a very similar size to the Waterhouse painting I did last year of A Naiad.

I mentioned in the previously mentioned post that I’d started the same picture in oils but on hardboard. I’ve put it in below for what it’s worth. I don’t think I’ll ever return to it.

And here is the original photo by Jim Dutcher that I used which, unfortunately, hasn’t scanned very well. Not sure if there are any copyright issues with me using this for my college work and if anyone out there knows these things then let me know.

And while I’m at it, here’s a rather wonderful image by the same photographer.

OK, that’s it. Sorry about the philosophical discourse. Probably didn’t make any sense anyway!

Oh, and before I forget, a big ‘thank you’ to Dave, Chrissie, Pat, Suse and kids for coming along to the end-of-year exhibition. Twas lovely to have you all there 🙂

I’m outta here,

Jimbob

PS. If your wondering at all what my next step is after finishing college, I’m wondering that too 😉