So you’re a bit of a painter are you?

I have come to the conclusion that all artists are mad.

Mad in that we should choose to be artists at all.

Mad in that we should choose to be part of a world that provokes the most extraordinary reactions.

My writer friends tell me that the first question they are asked on telling people they are writers is, ‘So have you had a book published?’.   The first question I always get is, So where do you exhibit?’.   If you said you were a boiler engineer, I very much doubt that the first question people would ask is, ‘So where can I see your boilers?’.

What people who are not artists are probably unaware of is that it takes a great deal of courage to start describing yourself as an artist in the first place.  I started in a faltering manner – how could I be so audacious as to describe myself as a painter?  It then took a number of years to have the temerity to hang my work on my own walls.  It seemed as if I was hanging myself out to dry … for all to see … for all to say whatever they liked … And people do just that … they say whatever they like!

So, as I reach the first anniversary of this blog, here is a selection of the reactions I have encountered since I moved into the Studio two years ago.

Fairly early on in the process, the neighbour opposite the Studio came over because he thought we had bashed into his car, which we hadn’t.  So admittedly he wasn’t in the best of moods, but his comment, ‘Why do you need all this space?  Couldn’t you do all this in your bedroom? was particularly affecting at the time, the Studio being a new venture for me.  I thought, what possible reason would someone have to say that kind of thing?

CHILDHOOD, acrylic on canvas, 30x40'', 76x102cm, £440
CHILDHOOD, acrylic on canvas, 30×40”, 76x102cm, £440

We are now good friends, the neighbour and I.

And I am becoming much better at laughing at the comments that being a painter – and particularly an abstract painter – provokes.

I recently sold a painting to someone who kindly shared a photo of it in situ on Facebook. It raised a number of comments, mostly of an appreciate nature, some rather less so.

This is the painting – it is a lovely, calm study in iridescent greens:

JADE, acrylic on canvas, 24x24'', 61x61cm, £270 SOLD
JADE, acrylic on canvas, 24×24”, 61x61cm, £270 SOLD

One comment was, ‘Did somebody drop the paint tin?’ and then a further comment from another, ‘I was just about to ask the same thing.  I thought this was very funny, though my daughter was rather defensive on my behalf.   Apart from anything else, I thought it was an insult to the person who had bought the painting.

And this is what I do now – I laugh a lot!  Of course, there are many more wonderful people who say gorgeous things about my paintings.

At the Studio’s recent Christmas weekend I was thrilled when a man, standing in front of my wall of paintings, said, ‘I just love your work!  This is exactly the kind of art my wife and I like’.   And he particularly liked this one:

...CAST THY NIGHTED COLOUR OFF - Hamlet I ii 68, acrylic on canvas, 20x20'', 51x51cm, £240
…CAST THY NIGHTED COLOUR OFF – Hamlet I ii 68, acrylic on canvas, 20×20”, 51x51cm, £240

Then his mother, who had come with him, said, ‘But I don’t think it’s finished.’   Well, I just burst out laughing. The man, to his credit, did say that where I had chosen to halt the colour in the painting was exactly why he liked it.

So this is what it’s like, folks, being an artist and all.  But as I say to all my artist friends – if it was easy everyone would be doing it.  And as the New Year beckons, may I wish all fellow artists out there a stunningly successful 2015, and to those of you who are on the point of taking the plunge into the artist life, I say, DO IT – mad as it may be.

For creativity is the lifeblood of our existence.

And finally …

… the title for this post came about because the gas man came to check the meter at the Studio.  As he left, he glanced over his shoulder at a fairly sizeable space littered with canvases in various states of creation and commented, ‘So, you’re a bit of a painter, are you?’

Yes, that’s me, I’M A BIT OF A PAINTER!


And you can check out my paintings on the menu bar –  PAINTINGS FOR SALE








  1. Hilarious post! I get the same thing when I mention my novel is an ebook – the little ‘oh’ that follows suggests it’s not a ‘proper’ book. Well, we don’t do it because we can, we do it because we can’t not. Looking forward to seeing more of your ‘dabblings’, your ‘little moments’, your brave ‘attempts’ (aka your gorgeous, fully-formed flights of colour and imagination) in 2015!


  2. I absolutely love this post. After, ‘Are you published?’ I always get, ‘Make any money from it?’ I once had someone fly into a complete tantrum because I dared describe myself as a writer and that was when I was published. I mean, it wasn’t as if I was saying, ‘I’m the new Proust,’ or anything… Developing a sense of humour around all this is crucial I find and comes with practice!


  3. Hi there, Fran. I absolutely love the painting you sent with John, and have hung it in my music room. Thankyou for your generosity. I especially like it’s name “Christmas Cracker 11. You are so very talented. Much love, Lyn


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