Easter Monday, 13th April
I feel obliged to paint the amaryllis blossom that has made its dramatic reappearance. That’s not the same as feeling compelled to paint it, and I have told myself for years to know and respect the difference. You feel obliged to paint the Eiffel Tower, but you feel compelled to paint the beautiful girl in striped top with a sweet little dog sitting nearby. It’s hard to ignore these intensely red flowers, though, and I have a go. No sooner am I painting them than I am reminded how much I don’t like painting amaryllis. I have done it lots of times. I am a line person and although I like to think I can do anything, sadly that’s not true. So I do my best, leave my pens out of the equation and stick to red.
Liv (15) has a sugar craving. She decides to bake…a chocolate cake. At this rate my sketchbook is a long series of Liv baking, as she loves to be sketched (which doesn’t mean she keeps still), the only change to the scene the length of her hair. The Kenwood is not as young as it once was, but the build quality is not as good as it once was either, as my parents’ 50-year-old machine is in much better condition than my 20-year-old one, and over their fifty-year use and 10-person household (plus lots of guests), they have mixed cakes and bread from here to the moon with theirs. Mine rattles, groans and heaves, and Liv has to hold it down with her hands to stop it from flipping open as she mixes buttercream icing.
Reuben the terrier and I walk around the “block”, fast and without breaking rhythm. From my door back to my door I pass thousands of dandelions, lining the grassy verge like I’m a one-woman Tour de France. I have long felt compelled to paint dandelions (never obliged) but they, like the amaryllis, have defeated me. I rack my brain to think of how to conquer them, and I think I have a solution. The same applies to the blue shadows that are thrown across the road and the central grass strip by the trees: they have taunted me for decades, but I think the tables may be turned soon. I will share this new approach with you as soon as I can.
I get home, and they’re still eating chocolate cake. “Have you gone around the block already?” asks my husband Marcel. “Cake,” I say, sourdough. Pastries. Wine and gin. I have to try to fight this somehow.” The baking is off the charts in my house, as is the alcohol consumption. The time may actually be approaching when I take out a subscription to a fitness app…again, I will let you know how that goes. Maybe if I think someone is “watching” me, I will do something about it.
And there’s always tomorrow.