As an artist I've had little commercial success so when the chance to earn proper money turned up it was impossible to resist. For a while though I thought I was it, flavour of the month, the next big thing, the next Picasso, except the the starving family begged to differ. Anyways that was a long time ago and a lot of digital bytes into the mix.
Once in a while though I get out the oils and have a go in a mood of perhaps-this-will-be-the picture-that-changes-everything. I came close with the sheep picture. However, this was a one-off for the reason given below.
So what is this blog about. There is me, me being blind in one eye, and some sheep that caught my good eye in a field in Buckinghamshire. Not sure if it can be seen in the digital image above but that sheep in the centre of the image is blind in one eye (right side) opposite to me. Now the interesting thing is that I was in this field with my camera, skipping the sheep poo, looking for that sheepy picture that would sum up sheepyness; when I spied these three critters standing atop the hill as if they owned the place. Now that's interesting I thought. It took some considerable effort to get up close and avoid all those fresh droppings - yes reader I failed, shoes were covered in the stuff. Well I had an excuse creeping up the hill, one eye on the sheep the other... well you know the other now.
I managed to get up close to about 15-20 feet away and began to click away. Fantastic these sheep were good. They loved having there picture taken. Look at me, look at me they said. Dr Doolittle obliged.
Beautiful digital images - got home loaded them up on to the computer and Digi projected the selected image up onto a large canvas. Six by four foot. And proceeded to paint my heart out. I also printed the picture and worked away for a couple of months daubing between the money job and looking after kids.
Believe it or not I only realised that sheep was blind when I started to work up the heads towards the end. This was exciting, that sheep and I had an an affinity I felt sorry for him/her but it looked happy enough "c'mon" it said "I look good, take my picture". This was so poetic and led to all kinds of self-examination and reassessment of my lot in life. I began to feel a lot better about myself. I look good aswell, yes I do. Nice sheep, good sheep. It seemed that every time I painted a sheep's face my confidence went up a notch. Good stuff. Even better than a Paul Mckenna cd.
I finished the painting just before Xmas a few years ago and had already decided to give it to my sister in law as a gift. I've spent many drunken hours/days in her house smashing glasses. My sight causes a certain clumsiness exaggerated when plied with wine. You can try this at home reader just for fun put a patch over one eye or elastoplast and get drunk and see the glass and wine fly. It can lead to all kinds of fun I can tell you. Now more poetry. Her home happens to overlook that very field where I took the picture. So on New Years eve the painting was presented as a way of saying thank you and for breaking all that glass! They were seriously stunned into silence. I had tears in my eyes. I was very proud and pleased. Hugs and kisses all round and boy did we get drunk that night and the next and the next. They know how to have fun so if your ever up my way pop in.
As a footnote, the last thing I painted on that picture was some sheep poo some burnt umber with some white sorted that in about five mins flat. Furthest sheep on the right by its foot has it. Eeeeew. Well it had to be done is was part of the memory. Oh and the farmer that owned the sheep went round and recognised Flosssy or whatever its name was and made noises about commissioning me to paint some goats, bulls and what have you but sadly that never happened. Still there are more important things in life than money. And boy does that painting look stunning in my sister-laws lemon yellow kitchen.