Painting again

Well, Dee went off this morning to visit our people down in Hampshire. Two hours on the bus to Inverness then a short bus trip to the airport there then it's Gatwick and a train to Fareham. So, no Dee and no dogs. A very quiet household.

I've made a good start on my next pastel 'painting', the first since February when my right hand lost much of its versatility and most of its strength. I must admit to a little nervousness as once more I faced the blank canvas with sketches and composition in mind. My subject now is a commission from one of our friends in the North East of England. She wanted one similar in style and season to my 'Over the Fain', sold last year to a young man visiting the area. It will feature as a twin with my - now her - Achnasheen original, positioned over the lady's obviously imposing fireplace (inglenook?)

There are two ruined houses up on the fain. Gaelic for 'barren place', 'the fain' is how the high road between Dundonnell and Braemore is known to the locals, ourselves included. One of these ruins featured in the painting that is now sold. This one in progress will feature the second, bigger but more dilapidated house. I know nothing of its history as yet, but need to find out for my associated verse. Anyway this ruin will be but a distant glimpse set in an autumnal roll of sub-hills below mighty An Teallach, to me the coronaded queen of Wester-Ross Munros (hills over 3000 ft in case you don't know). It is set amidst striped sunpatches of yellows, reds and golds and browns with a touch of still purplish heathers right in the foreground. High up in 'my' view are the greys and the white of snow on native rock. In front of the ruin runs a wild Highland spate river, again seen only in glimpses according to the rise and fall of the foreground.

Having made a fair start I know I can continue to a finish, even if painting only in short bursts. About the hand, well, I'm reconciled to it as it is rather than the thing of strength, versatility and delicacy it once was. Having wasted much time this year, in between the medical professions's long and stony silences, with a plethora of 'specialists' and GP's I have to date had no diagnosis, never mind any hint as to remedial treatment. One day I should write up a diary on this whole, silly, sequence, obviously so crazily expensive to the taxpayer. But right now I'm much too busy and should be too tired to act the grumpy old man. And I have a painting to move on with ... and a novel to try to bring to the attention of the media, without whom I cannot hope to sell it as widely as it deserves.

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