My professional life has been dominated by words. Not surprising when I spend my time running Ways With Words. I read around a hundred books a year for my work - which is not enough. There is no getting away from the fact that it is a word-dominated life and yet I would describe myself as a visual person. I get up early to watch mist rise over the fields; I am in ecstasy at a simple white cup on a wooden table; shades of green in May have me rushing for my paints. So when we go to France to run our Ways With Words course I shall choose to do painting rather than writing. Give me a sunny courtyard, and the quiet creativity of a group of writers and painters working under parasols, and I get out my brushes.
WHAT INSPIRES ME
Peeling paint on wooden boards, the stripes of fields of vines and olives, a red jug next to a white mug, three bluebells in a jar, a bowl of purple plums, a rusty corrugated iron roof– inspiration tends to come from unexpected sources. My paintings usually fall into two categories: those inspired by fields, fences, water, skies – the outdoors, and those that come from the kitchen – eggs, lemons, bottles, mugs.
There’s lots of kitchen stuff in France and fields and peeling paint too so no shortage of subjects for paintings. No excuse - so away with words and up with pastels, paints and paper. Of course with the Ways With Words Dartington festival starting on 10 July I shall be reading lots too. A pile of books will come with me:
- 'Solving The Arts Puzzle' by Richard Fox (Sat. 11 July at 5pm)
- 'A Single Swallow' by Horatio Clare (Tues. 14 July at 2pm)
- 'My Judy Garland Life' by Susie Boyt (Sun. 12 July at 10.45am) – re-reading this as I am chairing this event. Found it quirky, thoughtful, insightful – loved it.
- 'The Music Room' by William Fiennes (Sat. 11 July at 9.30am)
- 'How to Paint a Dead Man' by Sarah Hall (Sun 12 July 12 noon) - not connected with my painting but because she is an exciting young novelist.
Looks as if words will be battling with brushes for my time in France. Ways With Words writing and art workshops run from 2-9 June in the Dordogne area of France.
More details are on our website or phone 01803 867373.