A Few Stolen Hours in the Panda House

It's not my Painting Weekend - right now I only get one every other week - but this weekend I was able to get a few precious hours in the Panda House to paint a child portrait. It's a specially-built construction in the corner of the garden and you have to be very tidy and organised inside, because it's very compact. The problem with painting in the winter months is that I can heat the studio, but I need to open the door or a window to ventilate while painting in oils, which means that a lot of the heat gets lost.

Today it was chilly and I forgot to open the door for some time - and although I use low-odour artists' white spirits, the smell of the oils can be quite overpowering! I always have one eye on the painting and another constantly alert for spiders, which I hate more than anything in the world, and which are impossible to completely banish. I often find them dead on the floor and I think that they too are overcome by the fumes. Still, it's always a worry that one will survive. In the photograph you can see a big red can of Spider-Ex on the desk.

The other problem I have right now is the lack of light in the working day. Granted, it's now not getting dark until after 5pm and for that I'm super-grateful - only when I'm painting the hours pass so quickly, and even though I have daylight lamps in the Panda House you still can't really paint under them - or if you do, you will find that the colours aren't right when you return. I will write more about this in the future.

My portrait of Gabriel is coming along quite nicely given that I only started it yesterday, but we'll see what happens when the paint is dry. I'm using a reclaimed canvas which gives a beautiful texture and creates a portrait that looks less formal than the traditional type. I should finish it next weekend.

At any rate, it was so exciting to be able to paint at all....

A glimpse through the window of the 'Panda House' - aka my studio

#studio #daylight #reclaimedcanvas #portrait

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