I have now given up on ‘Sally’. The painting is lost. I simply can’t explain why I have been unable to salvage it so I start a new one. My new beau, R, has kindly offered to let me use his large and sunny conservatory as my studio.

After collecting my easel and paints I start afresh. I’m drawn to a photo that I took way back in January 1996 whilst in Kerala, India. A young lady holding a toddler. The colours are vibrant and although the toddler is staring straight to camera the lady is looking away. I find myself working with completely new skin tones; Prussian Blue, Raw Umber, Quinacridone Magenta to achieve the heat of the location.

With a trip planned to Prague at the end of the month,  I work fast and incredibly pull the painting off in 5 days. Clearly the technique I learnt at the Maison du Guit has paid off. The style is different to the one that I have perfected over the last two years.

I have chosen Prague, as my new beau (who is clearly spoiling me) has given me more-or-less carte blanche to chose a European destination that appeals to me. I’ve had a life-long desire to visit the Mucha museum ever since I collected posters from Athena to decorate my bedroom wall in the 70’s. After balking at the 500 Kr entry fee I wander around Alfons Marie Mucha museum. He produced posters of his muse, Sarah Bernhardt in the Art Noveau period that dominated Paris and apart from a few black and white photos I find myself staring at the same posters that adorned my teenage bedroom walls.


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