A few years ago I read this piece in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2003/sep/17/popandrock) describing how the journalist concerned went to interview Johny Cash who so moved her that she changed her career. The words she remembers him saying were “You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.”.
I cut out the article, which was called ‘Alone with the Man in Black’ and promised myself that I would eventually stop being a company man and would do the things I wanted to do. I also started to think about how I would use the article as the base of a painting with its ideas bursting through and beyond an upper layer of commuters travelling to work (by that time I was doing a 1.5 hr each way journey).
The article went in a folder in my desk and from time time I doodled ideas for the painting. Now, shortly after retiring, and actually ‘doing things I want to do’, the time has come to try and produce the painting. By way of getting started I re-read the article and was struck by how long ago it was that I had cut it out of the paper – over eight years ago in September 2003. It was a sharp reminder of how quickly time passes and a nudge for me to keep pressing on with all those things I want to do. So, now is the time to plan and sketch and paint – though I lack any skills in the latter two departments.
I’ve decided that blowing up lots of commuters as the fire of the article spews upwards in the painting is just not the right thing to do – after all they’ve got enough to contend with just with all the driving and traffic jams etc.. So, its going to have to be a rather fanciful science-fiction-type transparent tube abducting me and my car and swooshing us to a better place above the clouds. Well that’s my starting point anyway. Watch this canvas!