When you can’t paint….

… things are not going to plan! My relapse is proving intractable and resistant to treatment. However, although it has been two months now since I’ve been able to do any painting, I have a few bits and bobs to share.

Prints imageFirst, as promised, I have made an online print shop, selling giclee prints of a selection of paintings. While some paintings suit the intimate and tactile format of a greetings card, others sit more comfortably at a distance, as a window on a wall. As a result, there are some paintings which I have made into cards, but are not available as prints and conversely there are paintings in my print shop which have never been available before, so do have a look! After some experimentation, I settled on a small image size with a wide border, which I think both draws the eye into the detailed image and produces a clean, minimalist design. However, let me know if you would like a bespoke print, either in terms of size or painting.

Sherlock - Rachel AlbanJust as my print shop has seen the revitalisation of some of my older works, so the BBC’s Little Painting Challenge induced me to look through my postcard-sized paintings (as per the entry requirements) and send off a couple of pieces I did over a year ago:a pencil drawing of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, and an acrylic painting of Stephen Fry. It seemed worth sending something, even if I wasn’t well enough to paint something specifically for the competition.

Stephen Fry

I heard a few days ago that my ‘unique entry’ has been selected as of the 1000 top entries to be displayed in Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, but which work of art this ‘unique entry’ is referring to (could it be both?!) I do not know! I would love to see a painting of mine up in gallery, even among 999 others, but I doubt I will to able to go. So, if you happen to be in Manchester between now and 22nd May, why not pop in to the Grand Hall and let me know!

But, to return to the title of this post, what I really do when I can’t paint and am spending most of my time in bed, is do a ‘trivia journal’. I fill these A6, plain paper journals with tit-bits – little sketches, lists of vocab in German or Persian, the odd poem, notes from documentaries I watch and garden designs, among other things. These are measly offerings, and they have to be. Typically I will only be able to spend 20-45 minutes on this journal every other day, and the aim is just to put something on paper. I find that filling only an A6 page feels like a tiny outlet of creativity, and an affirmation that ‘I was alive today’. It was a hard to start a ‘relapse journal’, after the joy and satisfaction of beginning to do proper study and painting a few months ago, but at least the journals, in their diminutive size and diverse pages, have their own aesthetic.

For the sake of interest rather than admiration, here are a few pages:

Relapse Journal Composite

As you can see, my main problem is that the moleskin notebooks/cahiers, which I use, have very thin paper, which shows through to the reverse of each page. If anyone can recommend small, A6 plain notebooks with better quality paper, I would be grateful to know!


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