Got to be quick as I need to do all sorts of stuff and have already worked till six. Job has taken a startling turn for the worse after I inherited Julie's workload as well as my own. Not only heaps extra, but heaps of shit. Sorry to be so blunt about it. Ugh. I have been dumped on by so many negative people in the course of today I feel like screaming.
I'd had a lovely weekend, too. Very lazy on saturday, then sunday I went down into Richmond with a sketchbook and had a great time painting and drawing. Richmond Green v odd - full of (forgive me, but they were) braying yuppies shouting "Horatio!" and "Pandora!" and so forth after their children as said children gambolled happily in other families' picnics, took off with other families' footballs, chased other families' dogs, etc. I did some pastel sketches of light under trees and kept a low profile.
Then I moved to the riverbank and suddenly was in heaven. Sunlight pouring down, creating wonderful colours and reflections, shadows and depths in the water. Happy, relaxed people wandering along, having a beer or a meal, sitting in the sun. Ducks and swans getting fed with bread crusts. Dads rowing their kids and lads rowing their loves (and one love nobly rowing her lad) about in skiffs on the river. A guy and a little boy in a motor launch heading upriver with loads of supermarket shopping bags (I guess with the state of the roads round here maybe the river is a better traffic route if you live in Teddington or Twickenham or on Eel Pie Island...). The atmosphere was peaceful, chilled, warm (excuse contradiction in terms!) and happy. And it was HOT. It was glorious. I painted a rather splashy watercolour of the view upriver and did some studies of waterfowl. There was even a great crested grebe, briefly surfacing, surveying us all regally before vanishing with an elegant dive and reappearing in the blaze of reflected light to westward. I managed to catch the tiniest painted dabble of a sketch of him before he dived again and was gone.
I've been listening to Kerry (flatmate, origami-butterfly girl, remember?) talking about lots of exciting things going on in her life at the moment, and it is pretty inspiring. Then factor in the sense of wellbeing that comes from a happy and successful sketching and painting session like that; add on the bliss of having sat in the sun for several hours; and altogether one feels fantastically happy and ready for anything.
So now it is raining and I have a week's backlog of complaint letters to deal with (Julie's legacy, rats). But I call to mind the sunlight and the shifting deep colours and dazzles of the water, the swans with their cygnets, the willow boughs shifting and drifting across on the far bank, and the blessed heat on my skin, and I know I am not really being overwhelmed by the stupidity of these letters and emails. I am simply doing this for a living. I am doing this to live, because real life is out there - not in here. Out there in the daylight, be it sun or shadow, in the fascination of laminations of tone and subtle nuances of colour and light, and the heart-opening of doing my true, real work for a day.