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The beginning of a major wall painting project

Paints, pens, pencils and non-fiction books cover my desk.

I’m starting a project.

I start projects all the time: stories that never find their endings, paintings that have nothing but a background, or are missing the paint. I have sketches I give up on stuffed into boxes in my room back at my parents’ house. Often I embrace this feel of unfinished and proudly stick the pictures on the walls.

Now I know that to get anywhere with creative endeavours you need more than just a great imagination. You need a skill that often alludes me. You need organisation.

Which is where I, and many other creative people, fall down.

But this project, unlike most of my projects, I’m already certain has a more than good chance of success.

On this project, there’s a deadline – the end of the year. I’ve got the Mother standing over me holding a whip (figuratively). She expects a finished project and will make sure it happens.

So whilst everyone else relaxes over Christmas I’m painting some walls. The Midget is also going to be painting. I actually think she’ll end up doing more of the brush work than me since the biggest, and most time-consuming challenge will be getting my designs (which I haven’t yet drawn) onto the walls.

I need the designs ready before Christmas so I hope nobody was wanting presents.

The first task is to learn to draw like an Ancient Egyptian. Preferably an Egyptian from the first half of the 18th dynasty. Luckily Ancient Egyptians had a clear grid system which they worked to for all of their figures.

Image copied from tomb of Sarenput II 12th dynasty

It’s a big, complex project and so I’m having to plan. I need to do research. I’m probably going to hop over to the capital and check out the big museum of stolen treasures. It is one of my favourite places to go.

Research list:

Egyptian Painting and Relief – Gay Robins

Art of the World | Egypt – L. Woldering

Egyptian Art – Cyril Aldred

I need something with more and bigger pictures.


Painting on walls is one of my favourite things. Ancient Egypt is another. I’m nervous with excitement already.

Have you ever painted a mural?


If I draw every day, am I an artist?

a watercolour mess

Have you ever just paused and done a quick and instant list of all the things that make you happy? Apparently I did, one evening before bed. I know this not because I remember writing such a list, but because I found it in my diary.

Drawing jumps in at third place, yet I can go weeks without drawing anything. Sometimes I lose hours sat on the floor with a large sheet of white paper and a HB pencil. I’m really not fussy –  although a pillow or a cushion is crucial to cope with the Hovel‘s solid floors.

Dedicating an entire afternoon to drawing isn’t really feasible most days. Or even most weeks. I have a job, and I do have to eat and sleep. Often I am visiting, or have visitors, or have to deal with the invading cobwebs and filth. Art just doesn’t find itself as the top (or third) priority most of the time.

As a side note, try turning up at work on a Monday morning, asking your colleagues how their weekends were, settle into your chair with your first cup of tea, and when the inevitable question of what you did arises, pause thoughtfully, then state ‘I drew a camel’.

It beats:

“See you tomorrow.”

“I won’t be in tomorrow, I’ll see you Monday.”

“Oh, are you doing anything nice?”

“I’m going to a funeral.”

End of side note.

Back to art, and pretty things.

I have a new solution to drawing often and therefore maintaining my happiness levels. The barrier for doing any art or any writing is never the art or the writing itself, but manoeuvring my bum into the right place, picking up the pen and forming that first line.

chopped up coloured paper

Pieces of the coloured mess hide in my diary (a benefit of a Moleskine notebook is the pocket) and scattered on my bedside table. Once you start, art is addictive.

Meanwhile, whilst I’m busy drawing, here is some art that I do rather like.

[Worryingly physics made the list.]

Red polka-dot knickers

Imagine you are my mother. You go to America for a week to be educated. You arrive home, exhausted but happy. Its been a long flight and you’re not used to being away from your family. You walk through the front door, through the hallway and into the kitchen. You walk across to the sink. You’re thirsty. Yet something is different.  The walls have changed colour. You turn around.

Your daughter stands, giggling with a video camera in her hand.

You see the kitchen wall.

Polka dot knickers mural

Never bland.