Tin fish

Another day, another painting. I treasure my whole days off, as I can immerse myself in my studio, emerging only for air and the occasional sandwich. Today I actually started and finished a whole painting, continuing a series I started in my first exhibition, Small Wonders. I am very fond of tin toys, but I revel in the idea of abandoned old toys which have simply been lost or forgotten. My first tin toy work was 'rusty bird', and as I like to do things in pairs, I followed it with 'rusty fish'. I'm afraid my titles are never very imaginative...here's the 'tin fish' this morning, when all the washes and paintwork were finished and I was about to get stuck into the pencil work.

I really hate this stage of a painting - even after all these years, I get scared - every time - that it won't come right. Then I start the pencil detail. This is always reassuring and I find I haven't 'lost it' after all. But it can be tedious. That's when a long audio cassette of a spoken book is essential. In contrast to the whimsical images I am creating, I have a penchant for crime fiction. So today, while I was working on a nice little toy fish, I was listening to Joe Dunlop reading 'The Distant Echo' by Val McDermid - a rather harrowing Scottish thriller. It was so gripping I was able to work through the afternoon and night, and finished the piece in one session.

I'm rather pleased with this - I've ventured out of my normal comfort zone, by using a hot pink next to burnt orange, and the texture is a step forward too. I'm veering away from the smooth, graduated pencil finishes I used to enjoy, to a rougher, more varied textural effect.

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