Post-holiday watercolour blues

In my last post, I didn’t have anything in particular to share because I simply didn’t have anything to share. This week, however, I find myself in the unusual situation of having something to share, but being unable to do so.

Some may recall that last year I donated three A5 studies to an anonymous art auction in support of the charity Heart Research UK. My donations raised £358.66 which I was really delighted with. Here are the three studies that I submitted last year:

When I was invited to participate again this year, I didn’t hesitate to agree, but that was back towards the beginning of the year! Just as I left to go on holiday I received a gentle reminder that the organisers hoped to have all submissions in by the end of August, at which point I realised I didn’t have anything suitable to donate.

After my frustrations of last week, I took out the ‘just in case’ block of Arches rough watercolour that I’d packed, just in case.

I’ve had it for ages but have always felt it too ‘special’ to fritter away. With the paper in sketchbooks that I’d packed proving far too unpredictable and temperamental – well, the time seemed just right to put this paper to a good use!

I did about ten or twelve studies and have yet to decide which I’ll submit to the anonymous auction, but anticipate choosing about six in the end. The image that heads up this post is one that won’t be making the cut. I’m really hopeful that the selection I end up with will raise more than I did last year.

I’m also hopeful that I’m going to be able to shake off my post-holiday watercolour blues. Despite a relatively productive final week away, I’ve returned home with precious little inspiration or motivation. I’m attributing this in part to the usual post-holiday malaise and still feeling under the weather, but I also have a slight concern that it may run a little more deeply.

I’m going to try to avoid overthinking this and try instead to focus on my next painting. If only I had the foggiest idea what that might be!

Thoughts on Post-holiday watercolour blues

13 thoughts on “Post-holiday watercolour blues”

  1. Sounds like you should do the old, “show up and see what happens” routine, John! You had some lovely results for that last auction, give yourself some time and that awesome paper….wet your brush and off you go!! Best of luck – I look forward to seeing what comes out and hope you feel on top of your game again SOON! :-)

    1. Hi Hilda and thanks for this. I think you’re quite right, sometimes the best thing we can do is to just keep on showing up. I do take comfort in knowing that we all of us go through similar peaks and troughs!

  2. I rather like the one that didn’t make the cut. If it didn’t, I’m sure the ones you’ve chosen are outstanding. I remember those three from last year. I really liked that third one.

    I have one block of 300lb I’ve been saving too. And it’s not like I can’t get another one. I need to get over the saving stuff and just use some of the wonderful things I have. It’s like the good china and silver you never use, then you die and your relatives sell it at a garage sale. Just enjoy it while you have the chance.

    1. Thanks for this Mary and I love your analogy about the best china and silver (not that I have any!) Since getting back from France I’ve already taken a few half sheets of Arches 300lb rough that I had left over after I switched to Saunders Waterford paper and have cut them down to one eighth sized sheets as part of a plan to do more sketches but on loose leafed sheets rather than in a sketchbook. like you say, not point it sitting around for best and then finding I never use it! Hope you get stuck into the block you’ve been saving!

    1. Hi Raye and thanks for this advice which I can tell is born of hard personal experience! I shall be taking this on board and expect to be reciting this mantra shortly!

  3. I am so glad I read this. I am in a fog of no direction, which has sat with me for weeks. That you are feeling the same has made me feel better. I am going on holiday to my first visit to Provence. I shall take phone photos but no paints. On my return, I hope my vavavoom will get me going again with new subject matter and new light. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Hi Janet and thanks for this – so pleased that there’s comfort to be had in knowing that others are going through the same or similar fog! I know I take solace from knowing that most of us go through these ups and downs. I’m super jealous of our trip to Provence (I’m mentally picturing enormous lavender fields which I expect I’d find very challenging to paint!!). I think it’s a nice idea to leave your paints behind and just allow yourself the time and space to absorb your surroundings and let everything percolate a while before feeling the need to put brush to paper again! Good luck and let me know how you get on!

  4. Margery Griffith

    Oh dear! Cheer up, John! You’re not alone, if that’s any comfort. I had been painting happily along when I came down with an allergy attack. I can never be sure one of these is not just a cold, but my allergists in the past confirmed the allergies. Trouble is they make me feel like crap and my nose and eyes run like faucets then the awful cough shows up…and if I don’t get care immediately, it advances to bronchial pneumonia. I ‘m now on antibiotics, the first one I was allergic to, so am now on #2. After over a week of sleeping or lounging around, I have little strength for anything, not even painting! At my age, I really need to be careful!

    1. Oh Margery – your ailments make mine pale in comparison! I’m still undiagnosed (have had xrays but am awaiting the results – there’s a degree of apprehension as a few years ago I developed an atypical form of pneumonia that took an age to diagnose). Hope that you can rest up and hasten a speedy recovery so you can pick up your brushes again soon!

  5. John,
    Don’t torture yourself, your work is fabulous and very inspiring. From the blogs I’ve read you’ve been in a lot of events and produced some lovely work and you have that fabulous palette that you treated yourself to!
    Maybe you just need a couple of weeks away from your brushes and then you’ll be desperate to put creative thoughts back on the paper.
    I’m currently having a great time with acrylics,painting scenes of Inishbofin of the west coast of Ireland. If you ever need inspiration I throughly recommend it.

    1. Hi Warren and many thanks for your kind and supportive words – I really do appreciate it! I’ve just popped Inishbofin into google and had a look at some pictures – wow, it looks stunning and I can quite understand why you’re having a great time painting there! I shall have to add the west coast of Ireland to my ever growing list of places to visit! Thanks so much Warren and hope the rest of your time in Ireland continues to be inspiring!

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