The Rats Alley

I was feeling uninspired. sometimes one just wants to paint but has no idea what to paint. Often I turn to the person nearest me and demand a topic, that can work really well. Sometimes none of those things inspire me and I turn to the nearest thing at hand – in this case it was TS Eliot for The Waste Land.

“I think we are in the rats alley

where the dead men lost their bones”

The rats alley

The rats alley

Actually truth be tell the figure started out as a totally different picture – I once role-played a game where my character was called Pinus Radiata and was a large and rather repulsively mannered tree like alien. I ended up doing the main dude, thinking it was him, and then looking at it and thinking ‘that is NOT Pinus!’ and casting it aside, I didn’t think I’d finish it. But good watercolour paper is not actually that cheap (mid range you’re looking at $20 for a book of 12 sheets of A3) so i wanted to do something with it and not just chuck it, and I was reading TS Eliot at the time.  So Bob’s your uncle, there is was. A rats alley. Was kind of fun doing cobblestones and walls and dank and dark.

I like the pre-cut sheets of a3 paper that come on pads. So easy to use, I work with a pad of unused paper and i often carry another fully used pad as my backing board, you keep the painting you are doing in it and pull it out and rest it on it to work on. Means you can have a few paintings on the go at once – they need often to dry for a bit which means swapping paintings rather than stopping painting.

I’ve also used the rolls of pressed cotton paper, lovely stuff, but a bastard to transport, and then you have to cut them to size and it all adds a layer of complication so I don’t tend to use them. As you may have noted, I can DO precision but it goes against the grain. I noticed my art shop sells pressed cotton paper in pads only yesterday, it’s way more expensive though. Do I buy some and get hooked on it and forced to use it for the rest of my days, or stick to the archers paper which is just fine?  THE DILEMMA OF THE PAINTER!  Also though, I discovered it’s false economy to buy CHEAP watercolour paper. There is one I’ve used recently that i would say is just plain rubbish, the colour soaks right in up front and you can’t wash out mistakes. What’s very annoying is  I bought 3 pads of it and i thought I’d used it up and noooo, there was another one hiding. I will use it up, I am really stingy about stuff like that.