A View from The Starboard Side ...
By Tim ...
I'm not a writer and I seldom have words, but some days (or rather nights, like this one) they appear. How long they will last I don't know so I'm putting them down now, while I can. It is late and the night is quiet and maybe, in some strange way, having a cold and feeling ill as I do also helps.
If my life here in Cornwall was a book, I'd be starting this blog somewhere around Chapter Three. Or maybe Chapter Ten. It doesn't matter, except to say that I've skipped a bit. My story for the last two and a half years has been one of finding my feet after a massive upheaval. A complete change of life. Not always easy. Sometimes quite painful. An attempt to simplify. To remove unimportant details. To be more at one and at peace with myself. It's working. Gradually. One day at a time.
I'm an artist. A painter. I make all manner of things, creating and recreating objects, building, upcycling, seeking out the inherent beauty in the everyday things I discover all around me. I do all sorts of things. But mostly, I'm a painter.
Painting, creating images, to find expression in the visual, this is what I do and what I love to do. But also, I find it so hard. I learned long ago that you can never go out to create a masterpiece, but even so, the pressure I put on myself to paint well, to always be better, builds and builds.
So ... I just paint, and sometimes I get lucky. Genius is not something which can be possessed but is something that, if you're lucky, can pay the occasional visit and lend a helping hand. But still, the pressure remains.
For the longest time, I managed to hold in check my need to be better at any one thing by trying to master a new style or medium, always moving from one to the next, always restless. But it is in oils that I may have found my home, so confront the anguish I must!
A gap of two years in creating work is the longest I have ever gone (two weeks would have been my previous record!) I'm not sure why it has taken me so long except perhaps that the life-change demanded that I take a step back and be patient. I truly had no idea what it would feel like to paint again after all this time, or even what it was that I wanted to paint, or how, but the itch had been growing and I couldn't shake it.
Helped by watching how my friend and fellow artist John Maclean can simply sit himself down anywhere and paint what is in front of him, I followed his lead, not over-thinking, not worrying, merely desiring to break the oily ice and put it on the canvas. So, I stood on the port side of Albacore and painted what I saw there.
And it felt good. Not perhaps the greatest of my work, but a new direction and more importantly for me, renewed hope ...
It was two weeks later before I found myself sitting in front of the completed picture of three boats, 'The View From the Starboard Side' and the scene I had observed for two years and imagined as a painting for just as long. And I smiled.
I had been drawn to this image for a long time. Visually, the decay, the streaks of rust, the strong, bold shapes, the way the light would catch them at different times of the day. But more than that was the emotional. These once majestic sea vessels had all lived meaningful lives, and now they were all liveaboards. Homes. A Navy boat, a fishing trawler and an old Dutch barge, retired from service and given another chance for life. A new purpose. Maybe I saw myself reflected in them. A renewed meaning and a renewed hope.
Looking at the painting now in its temporary home on the wall in front of me, I'm still smiling. I know I can never stop painting so maybe the occasional smile on a night like this is worth all the anguish after all.
Old Rope Salvage