Helen Barker Painting



P1020312September is here. And I am not ready! J, my little girl, has not been sleeping at all lately. Her back and top teeth are cutting through her tiny, tender gums and she has had her one year immunisations. She feels pretty rubbish. So she has needed me even more, and even more in the middle of and all through the nights. I have tried to drag myself up to my attic studio space to work when she has finally gone to sleep but I admit, I have not always tried very hard. I have crawled under a duvet and stolen a few precious hours sleep instead. This is the challenge of being a stay-at-home-work-at-home Mum. Two, three, four hours sleep to see me through the days and nights and my brain just cannot find the space to reach for colours, for shapes.

I painted two portraits this week and both went very badly. It’s hard to put your finger on what makes a painting work but I believe some of it has to do with a feeling of balance and a sense of space when approaching the page. Neither of which have been very available to me lately. So I sit here again, in front of a blank page, breathing deeply and trying to tell myself that things will happen. Trying to train myself to work in the gaps that present themselves to me – a half hour here, an hour there. Ignoring the low, heavy feeling of sleep beckoning me from my bedroom below.

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