Month ten and it's surpisingly uphill

Life is not a highway strewn with flowers
Still it holds a goodly share of bliss
When the sun gives way to April showers
Here is the point you should never miss

April Showers // Al Jolson

Glorious weather today, sunny and fairly warm in the sunshine, which means long sleeve running polo neck top, sleeveless sweatshirt and big waterproof, kind of warm; spring warm.

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The watery blue sky of spring, not the intense blue of summer, sits above and stretches out to the horizon where the colour pales.

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After sitting for three and a half hours the cool breeze has fed into my bones and I’m cooling rapidly so the fingerless gloves are on as I sit in the last, now lowering, sun which holds no warmth in its rays. The breeze as well as cooling the ambient temperature makes everything ripple with movement.

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All around me today the sound of digging the earth, people doubled up so that it’s difficult to see anyone, but I hear them. Edges are tided, paths freshened up with wood chips, strimmers cutting grass, it feels like a new beginning.

The plants are growing, leaves thickening up the invisible walls between plots, I’m surprised to find myself slightly lost, paths look different to a month ago (and they also now look the same with new wood chips on them), outlines of plots change week by week now, there is already so much to draw, it’s intimidating.

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My plan to religiously draw here at least once a week has fallen by the wayside with family commitments and unwell relatives, in summer I am sure I will be able to visit two or three times a week but April is already pulling me in many different directions.

As the wind picks up the rustling of trees leaves is rather noisy, just as quickly it drops down and the sound is still again, as though settling into the evening, although not for long. O5B’s golden bamboo glows in the last glimpses of sunshine, almost giving out its own light. It is like an early warning system, the lithe branches and supple leaves dancing in the breeze warning everything that the wind is picking up again.

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It’s Easter weekend, the shop is open and as I step in brief to say hello, people pop in and out buying their supplies. I am on my way to visit family and so I have purposefully not brought my drawing equipment or I would stay and no doubt forget the time. I do have time to quickly run to a couple of plots and photograph the flowers. Pale yellow/cream daffodils next to scarlet red tulips, weaving their way through the air, dancing to their own tune. I stand and talk for some time then have to dash away as I spread myself too thinly for anyone’s good.

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I hit a wall, not literally. 

While the momentum at the allotments rises, I have felt mine ebb away. 

The motivation for this project which is completely self funded, is hard to keep buoyant for months on end. My own expectations of what I can achieve and would like to do are perhaps a little unrealistic and I need to recognise that while I am working hard on establishing my fledgling career, (having become fully self employed not many years ago,) I now have to make my dream pay its way and feed me. I have been and continue to work long days and completely ignore the idea of weekends, no one day goes by without me working for a few hours at least. April has been busy with commissioned work which I am grateful for but I am acutely aware I need to get on with plans for the exhibition at the end of the residency, make more prints and artists books as well as decide on whether I really do want to pursue the idea of a published book about my time doing this residency. There is a lot to decide on and a lot to do. Meanwhile the few days I have free in the second half of the month coincide with heavy rainfall and hailstorms, those typical April Showers, which is a little frustrating.

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However having two weeks off perhaps wasn’t such a bad idea, more solid plans are beginning to settle in to my thoughts. I tell myself it’s okay to take a short break, in the residency at least, I have been working flat out on other work during this fortnight, and after all two weeks is only 2% of my residency and I’m sure I shall gather together my drawing pens, flask of tea, sketchbook and drawing stool and head up to the plots with renewed energy and enthusiasm in May.

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