The unsecret diary of an insecure artist - part 2 - Caroline Ashwood

April 21, 2023


Friday Evening – with a glass of wine

Colour of the day – Sunset red

Haven’t managed to write a diary entry everyday this week, too busy, too tired. But I’m enjoying it. I’m lucky to have a darling husband who cooks every night, except on weekends, unless I’m too busy, too tired. When it comes down to it, painting for a living can be hard labour. My customers like my big works and that can be manually challenging. A wet 1 metre by 2 metre texture-ladened canvas can be heavier than a two year, and just as exhausting. Plus, you can’t hoist a 1Mx2M canvas on your hip like I did when the kids were growing up. Kids! I was thrilled to be told last night by our Charlotte that she’s expecting her first baby. Where did the time go? I can vividly remember when I started painting all those years ago, on our dining table. I’d pick the kids up from school and have to clear my paintings off the dinner table, so Charlotte & Jamie could have their tea. Didn’t take long before my husband Bob, cleared out the garage so I would have more room to make more mess. Now, my studio is just short of a 1000 sq ft. I could fit four garages into that. Noises from the kitchen, aromas of rosemary on the air, tea is ready. My favourite, smoked haddock tray-bake with beetroot & roasties. I love the ruby port wine colour of beetroot. Notes to self: must use it in a painting & start knitting a baby blanket.


Sunday afternoon – at the studio

Colour of the day – banana yellow

For the self-employed working artist, there’s no such thing as a weekend. Watching paint dry, as usual. I envy artists who work vertically, at an easel. To get paint moving around a canvas I need to work flat. Besides taking up much more room, its harder work, especially on the lower back. I’d have a cuppa tea, but I forgot to bring milk. I’m sitting on my dear old dad’s folding Army chair. Like me, it’s covered in paint but I can still read the ROFE insignia on the back rest. I miss my dad. We lost him way too soon. This old stone building was once a barn or a forge, or something like that. Not a single wall or part of the floor is ‘square’ or level. Loads of Yorkshire character, but wonky. So I have to keep an eye on how the watery paint washes are behaving on the flat-on-its-back canvas. Wonky is the enemy of working flat. Prop up a corner…. That’s better. Sometimes it feels like I’m making colourful landscapes with lakes and streams, like I did with muddy puddles as a kid. Messing about on a Sunday afternoon.

….to be continued

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