I came across "Piece of Beauty" blog, the other day. In it was mentioned the Rowan Tree, or Mountain Ash. We have a large and beautiful Mountain Ash in our garden, and though I'd admired it through the seasons for at least six years, I had no idea that it's also know as a Rowan Tree. Of course, I've heard of the Rowan Tree, I just didn't realise it's another name for the Mountain Ash. Now, I thought I knew what a Rowan Tree looked like............One of the first houses I bought was situated alongside a canal and this canal was (of course) lined with various shrubs and trees. One day (one day of many, in those times) I was extremely bored and decided to give watercolour painting a go, and, as there were plenty of willing and patient subjects lined up along the towpath, I brought a random twig into the house and began (see below).
As I didn't do "art" at school (I did pottery and batik and drama and biology and theatre arts and sociology and Eng lit and pure and applied maths, but not painting) I was very pleased with the way it turned out and rushed out to buy a set of Winsor and Newton paints, set in a delightful metal paintbox, and painted every Sunday.
I wanted to move on to Other Things, like landscapes and interiors and catching the light a certain way - that kind of thing. But I really didn't know where to begin and, more to the point, I was too scared of not being Good Enough (Sarah......that's the self-defeat I mentioned). So I stopped. And I have regretted it ever since.
I'm irritated by my failure to pursue something I might have been good at and this is one thing in a list of activities that have gone the same way. I remember dragging a 10kg bag of clay home from a local art centre. I really did drag it. I only weighed about 7st at the time, if that! But when I got it home, I lacked motivation and inspiration and I think it's because I wanted to go straight in there and be fantastic and I knew that wasn't possible, so I couldn't be bothered.
What has this got to do with the Rowan Tree? See the second painting down? Someone once looked at it and said "oh, a Rowan Tree". So I always thought it really was a Rowan Tree, after all, why would I question it? And sixteen years later I find out that it wasn't a Rowan tree at all (the leaves were a glossy, deep green and not in clusters, as a Rowan's are), and it doesn't matter .....but what is interesting is that it brought to mind these paintings and a time gone by, and also a reminder that I can do more than I think I can. And that whatever I can paint or knit or cook or whatever, it's a gift, and something to be thankful for; not something to resent, just because someone else can do it better. There will always be others who can do it better and, these days, I can look at them as inspiration, and take pleasure from their achievements. I must have grown up a bit.
And my paintbox....I left it behind in 1999, when I left my evil partner in a hurry, before he came home and stopped me. He'd put my paintbox in a beautiful hand-carved closet he kept in a corner of the room, locked (I never knew what was in there).
I was planning to show you my WIPs and some yarn I acquired as a result of selling some. I will show those next week. I'm off to Mayfair to get my hair cut tomorrow, at Sanrizz, where I always used to go. My beautiful almost-mother-in-law-and-friend has insisted on paying. I think she's horrified that I've been cutting my own hair for a year and a half. I'm quite excited as I haven't been to London in ages and it's nice to visit every now and again.
BTW. You might have noticed that my surname is Keen on some of the paintings and Plumridge on others. That's because I used to be married.