Evolution of a painting

The other day I saw an article posing the question: What do artists do all day? Well, I have a short answer:  We try and try and try… and agonise! Ultimately, we create.

Let me tell you about one ‘commission’. I put that in inverted commas as I was commissioned by my grandson and you know that doesn’t really count as a commission per se. However, the whole thing started when we were having dinner at a seaside restaurant in Cyprus where we witnessed a fabulous sunset.


When he saw it, he asked: “Gran, can you paint that?” I answered that I could try… He has such faith in his grandmother!

Well, I’ve been trying and trying and trying… and agonising!

The added complication came when his girlfriend wanted to add a particular yellow whilst the original had none… Also, the size had to be 1m x 2m. Well… that meant having a canvas put on that size stretcher. I agonised some more…

And then one morning I had a bright idea: why not do a triptych? They agreed and off I trotted to a man who could make me three canvasses of the correct sizes. After waiting for almost a week, it turned out that he couldn’t fulfill the order as there were no deliveries of canvas rolls until end-August; it’s summer break in Europe when everything closes… I cancelled the order and went to an art supply store where I could only get 1m x 70cm canvasses. I took them even though they were not exactly the right size and also, they were not deep…

This is how it evolved:


The first sketch, cut up into three parts.


In the end the blue and yellow were screaming at each other so hard that I had to stop the fight. I was about to gesso the whole lot but decided to wait. Took them off the table and stood them up and… they looked good! Obviously only half-done, but I thought I could make it work. Obviously the colours had to be muted.


I went back to the art supply store and bought three more canvasses, slightly smaller than before – 90x70cm – and deeper.

The reason for this was that I also had another idea as, according to my tutor in Italy, one should never try to imitate Nature – it’s a losing game. I thought that, as they were trendy young people, they might prefer something young and trendy. Piet Mondrian was my first choice and I made a mock-up of my idea. They liked it! But the colours were too intense.

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We got there but colours still too intense


Now we are motoring…

Back to the drawing board and they had also made a few changes… Oh, yes – there had to be a moon! Well, I’ve taken them both into consideration and we began again… There will be yellow… and a sun… and a moon…

Fingers crossed that this will turn out as it was envisaged by them!


And no, this time I’m not talking about health, politics or religion, although they are all at the forefront of our minds. Especially politics! Or would that be health? I’ve heard a man talk about politics and religion in one breath lately – that’s so bad, man!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and stay safe wherever you are.

Till next time,


In between, breathe deeply – Namasté!



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