Imagining the perfect picture

You may wonder if there is in fact such a thing as the perfect picture. I think so – unfortunately it has been eluding me for quite some time. This is how…

I should be busy making new prints to show at my next exhibition which will be in Southampton from mid-July to mid-August. I had been hugely excited when I booked it with the Harbour Lights Cinema last year – finally, a chance to get going with new prints, on new subjects!

floating platform full of scrap

floating platform full of scrap

I have been a frequent visitor to the city, and surrounding coast line, for some years now and have always been inspired by the various sights – from pebbly beaches, wonderful skies, crows and sea kale to rusty boats, marinas and even the silhouette of Fawley in the distance.

So, I thought plenty to get on with and plenty of time for some new plates. Now, that time is almost up and I haven’t even started! Of course, perhaps I am just too busy with the other parts of my business – and my life…

Or could it be that I’m stuck simply because I’ve set my sights on that perfect picture – the one that best encapsulates the feel of the place for me? It’s Hokusai meets English landscape meets industrial wasteland, if you want it in words.

And unfortunately while I can see that perfect picture in my mind’s eye, its sheer perfection means I can’t seem to move on and put it down on paper – or plate, for that matter! Too scared to get it ‘wrong’ and mess up that image, I have stopped dead in my tracks. Not unusual for a perfectionist, but very bad for a printmaker where serendipity and a degree of chance cannot be avoided – it is a craft as much as an art, with metal, ground and acid, ink and paper all reacting differently depending on conditions.

I’m sure there’s a valuable lesson for me in there and I hope I get my act together in time for July! Wouldn’t want to let down my friends Jenny and Biddy from the Oxford Printmakers’ Co-operative who’ve kindly agreed to exhibit with me, nor my friends who’ll be invited to have a look. Wish me luck!



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