I was just thinking…………

………………or panicking, rather! I can’t believe it’s suddenly the middle of June! What a fright! What happened to the year? I had plenty of time! At least nine months! I’ve ticked, crossed and marked off the months - even swapped calendars - but, alas, it remains the same and I realise with frenzied heart that I have a just a few months to complete at least thirty paintings, ready for my first exhibition in Oz. You may wonder why the panic but those of you who know how I paint will understand. One square inch a day is heady progress for me!
I guess forward planning is not my strong suit. But what really trips me up is the time factor. There just simply isn’t enough of it. It’s not as though I’m stuck for anything to paint. To be overwhelmed with ideas and enthusiasm, I only have to step outside my front door. Within minutes my mind is swimming with possibilities: Willie wagtails and butcher birds, twenty eights and black cockatoos, magpies and honey-eaters in red-flowering gums, coloured leaves and dead leaves, nuts and berries of all shapes and colours. I want to paint the bottlebrush before it dies, and the Illyarrie season will soon be over. I’ve nearly missed out on that luscious lily pilly and if I don’t get onto the Menzies banksia in the next few weeks it will also be gone till next year.

So what have I been doing all this time, you ask? Well, I don’t really know to tell the truth. But I do know that the year has flown by at a remarkable speed and I don’t remember wasting a minute. I seem to be always busy, always running. I even run from one room to another at home! Walking is just too slow! There isn’t time! There is a family to care for and a home to run. I believe we have a dog! Oh! And wasn’t there a cat?
There is always something to do, somewhere to be, someone to see, a meeting to attend, a class to teach, private students I’m always in fear of forgetting, a weekend workshop to run. I very nearly missed one of those completely not so long ago. If it hadn’t been for a last minute call from the university, I would have left 16 people standing around a doorway in Nedlands for the weekend. See, my fears are founded!
In an attempt to lighten the load, I have axed some things – like feeding my family, for instance. They must have learnt to cook very healthy food for themselves because they’re all looking very lean.
Other things I haven’t actually axed, they’ve just gotten regretfully squeezed out – like a social life. But today it’s Sunday and we decided that since it was such a gorgeous day, and since I’d spent 14 hours painting yesterday (yes, 3 gum leaves), we’d take a drive down to Capel. Jaz and Greg just got a beautiful new puppy last night and I was dying to see it. So off we went, but there was going to be all that lovely sitting time – I couldn’t waste it! Grabbing some bottlebrush branches, a pencil and a watercolour pad I spent the next couple of hours drawing and by the time we arrived I had one more picture to paint.
Now it is 6.53 pm and we’re in the car, heading back to Perth. We’re somewhere between Bunbury and Mandurah. A few minutes ago I realised with horror that I had an article to write for the Advocate, which had to be in by 10 am tomorrow. I had not a clue what I was going to write about so I thought, what the heck, tell it like it is. So here I am, with a legal pad on my knees, scribbling this by the interior light. When we get home, himself will find us something to eat while I huddle in front of the computer and type this out.

So you see folks, at the moment I am what you would call ‘time starved’. My sort of painting is something I can’t actually hurry. I must just find more hours in the day to better my productivity. And since sleep is another one of those things I’ve completely axed, I’m looking further afield and taking more drastic measures.
It follows, therefore, that for the next few months at least, instead of:

“I was just thinking………….” I think it will have to be

“I am just painting………… .”

Thanks for all your fabulous comments and encouragement in the past, and hopefully
Article No. 30 will resume in the new year.

(and that will come around way sooner than you think!)


Lori Spencer