After an extended Christmas break I felt energised and rested, ready to face the challenges of 2017.
January the 1st I was a little worst for wear having been hit by the booze monkey the night before but I didn't feel too bad. My running plan had me down to do two runs that Sunday, the first was at a fast pace and seemed to go okay. I had an hour break and went out for the next one, and that's when the trouble began. At mile 5 my calf began to hurt, which is not unusual. I took my usual idiotic approach to this and just carried on running. Now usually what happens is that it continues to nag at me but doesn't stop me. This time the pain got worse and worse to the point that I had to stop running which has never happened to me before. When I got home it continued to hurt. I literally limped into 2017, which I hope isn't going to turn into a metaphor for the year. After a few days it still hurt and so I had to take a more sensible approach which meant resting more, calf compression socks and cold baths.
My calf was resting when in the second week of 2017 I came down with a stinking cold which I'm still getting over. So yes, rubbish. It has slowly got better which is a relief
January is a harsh month as everyone knows, the trick I suppose is to try and not let it knock the wind out of your sails. For me the secret to that is to have plans, and one of perennial plans is my application to the Royal Academy for my annual rejection from the Summer Exhibition. After a detour last year into prints, both lino and digital I've gone back to messy, joyous paint for the jury to reject this year. Last year did see my paintings stall a little. I do have highs and lows in my enthusiasm for my painting but I try and keep grinding through it. In the latter half of the year saw two winners gradually make themselves known, both inspired - as ever - by gigs. The first painting 'drop' above was pretty immediate but really came together when I added the darker colours.
I had intended to submit a different painting for rejection but then the 'untitled' painting below was the polar opposite of 'drop', it was something that was in my studio for months and I would work and rework, paint over and work again and was never happy with it. I had an idea where I wanted to go with it but I couldn't get there. Then one cold December day I walked into my study and saw the paintings and thought 'Fucking hell, that's not bad.' and realised what I had to do. With some of my work that I'm happiest with when it came to the final stretch it felt more like working on a sculpture than a painting, I felt like i was moulding the figure. When the painting came together it came together pretty quickly. After applying another layer of the red halo (shit, actually that's a good title for it, would blood halo be a bit on the nose, hmmm, dunno) I knew it was finished. So happy with it, and where ever the paintings end up eventually I'm proud of them.