Saturday, 2 April 2011


In a spirit of blind, naive 'bless me for trying' optimism I have entered 'Under the Ivy' for the Royal Academy Summer Show.
In doing so, I am joining the ranks of about 12000 similar hopefuls, all of whom will be keeping their appendages crossed in the hope that this will be the start of Something Big.

The comparisons with the X-factor are toe-curlingly obvious, but I'm on a journey, living the dream and doing it so me babbies will 'ave a more better future than what I done.

Hard to argue with that, one thinks.

So, to finish the painting I have to have another encounter with the dreaded goldleaf.
Handling the stuff is like trying to fit pyjamas made of cobwebs onto a sticky pig.
At first, all seems to go well.
Stealth, cunning and a steady hand win the day.
And then it gets smart.
In playful mood the wispy glitter discovers the gravitational pull of my pullover;  I breath fractionally too much and find I have applied a gilded finish to my own face.
Things get worse.
The static on the screen of my immaculate Imac calls, and like Gollum to Mordor, the precious gold wafts off towards the light...

Meanwhile, the part of the picture I had coated in stuff that would stick down a badger has ignored the laws of physics and refused to cooperate, and all the shiny bits peel off at the first suggestion of a breeze.
Rude words ensue.
Walk away, deep breath, cup of tea.
I manage to get more of it onto the canvas, but it fights like a disadvantaged weasel brought up on Stallone films.
I decide to opt for a distressed look, which mirrors my own.

Off to the framers, hire a van, fight my way through Knightsbridge and hope I've timed the double parking on the smart red lines correctly.
Into the bowels of the Academy, register my entry and then, with its label dangling from its frame, my precious painting is carted off by a brown coated gnome to who knows where?
I have a sudden sense of empathy with mothers whose children were evacuated during the blitz...

I offer a small, thankful prayer, however, to the Big Art Pixie that Simon Cowell isn't on the judging panel.

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