The Way We Lied

I’m feeling so much more confident now. Meeting Mary has made the most enormous difference to my work. I can’t believe now how worried I was before Mary came to see me at home for our first one to one session. I’d done hardly any work on the project since we had all met at her place, because I had stupidly been concentrating on turning the shed into a studio. Well I say stupidly, but I am pleased that I have done it and it does look lovely now. I painted it white inside and pale green outside. I was tempted to hang pretty curtains too, but as I need maximum daylight I have left the windows bare. Simon was not too pleased when he realised what I had been doing, but I think he has forgotten about it now, as I cleared up all the garden tools, chemicals and sprays and managed to create a very neat area for them in a corner of the garage.
So as most of my spare time had been spent on the shed, I had done very little research for the project or even thought about it. All I’d done was start a painting of how the shed looked before I emptied it and some quick sketches of garden tools and rubbish I found, because I thought they looked interesting as I was clearing up. I pinned a couple of these up on the shed walls so it didn’t look too bare and I also hung up some old forks and trowels which had belonged to my grandfather. I like the feel of the wooden handles, which are smooth and polished from his years of hard gardening. They remind me of him, his old corduroy trousers and his smell of tobacco. They make me think of happy times, playing in my grandparents’ garden, feeding their hens and collecting the eggs.
I suppose I was also feeling apprehensive before Mary arrived because I was expecting her to say right then, what have you been doing, show me everything, I want to see lots of progress otherwise I’ll think you are wasting my time. But of course it was nothing like that. It was more like a friend visiting and just showing genuine interest in what I’d been doing. It was a lovely sunny day for April. One of those days when you are fooled into thinking summer has arrived already. Our cherry tree and magnolia were in flower and had not been damaged by frost and down the bottom of the garden where the shed is, there are loads of bluebells, so it looks very pretty, set there in a sort of flowery glade. Mary said it was just like coming to visit Hansel and Gretel and we walked down the garden together, with me carrying a tray of tea and biscuits. Then we sat in the shed with the door open and the sun coming in and we just talked for ages.
It was funny, because at first we didn’t talk about work or the project. She just asked me about my family, about Simon and about my life. She asked me how much time I was able to spend painting and I said how difficult it was to find regular times to work because of the children and my other work. And she said I had to make it a priority and give myself a rigid timetable. She said so many people make the mistake of thinking that creativity does not need boundaries when in fact it requires massive discipline and that the most productive artists have always been hard working, driven people.

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