It’s so frustrating not being able to paint every day, to the extent that a day like today, when I was able to get in a good spell pm, becomes special. Admittedly, the weather has been pretty cold a lot over the last fortnight, presenting a major disincentive to go out to the studio from the warm house; and carrying out my ovine duties can easily take up to 2-3 hours a day. Not that I begrudge that time or that activity; but what I do begrudge is the constant drip of domestic chores, the succession of medical appointments of one sort or another, and the never-ending conveyor belt of low-level admin. It’s very difficult to find or even create quality time to do the good things I’m supposed to be doing in ‘retirement’ – painting and writing. As for reading, I hardly do any nowadays except for the newspaper which I spend far too much time on each day, in print and on-line; but these are such hazardous, and interesting, times that current affairs are for me of compelling interest.
Anyway, I did work on four paintings this afternoon, and two may be finished. I’ll illustrate them shortly. After painting, I went to visit the flock in their ‘new’ field to which they were moved yesterday – actually it is the same field that they were in this time last year. What a difference it makes that already it is possible to be out doing things, like counting sheep, in daylight at 16,50: in effect an extra hour has been added to the daylight day. It was also light enough for me to notice straightaway an archaeological earthwork, a slight linear depression or ditch, which I didn’t see last year. I’ll have a proper look in better light and when not being assaulted by very horned sheep battling to knock the box of stock nuts out of my hands. One of them nearly snapped my leg in half the other day when she charged, head down, at another sheep – which moved, side-stepping the charge and exposing my knee to the full impact of the equivalent of an ovine express train. Thank goodness it was what had been, until then, my ‘good’ knee.