Sleep deprived, with White-line fever

There are times when I think about my choice to pursue painting more fully and I wonder if it’s not just a little nutty. Can I justify the hours spent mixing pats of colour together and pushing them about on a canvas? What is the point of painting panel after panel of ordinary random objects?

Then I spare a thought for the pro tennis players out there.

I know there’s a lot more to it than what I see when I watch a game, but when you distil it down, these guys spend decades of their lives chasing a fuzzy yellow ball out of a rectangle, with a high-tensile fly swat – only to have it return again, less than seconds later.

I mean no disrespect here, by the way. I mean, whose choices seem stranger – the person who dedicates hours to having the skills and fitness required to chase the fuzzy yellow menace from between white lines, or the person who sacrifices hours of sleep to watch them do it?

That was me last week – watching Wimbledon in the wee hours of the morning and feeling grateful for school holidays to give me the buffer zone I needed to sleep in the next day.

Despite being gifted with a freakish ability to soldier on through sleep deprivation, I wasn’t really up to painting anything too complicated or involved.

Which makes this post’s painting pretty self-explanatory really.

Waiting for play – 10cm x 10cm (4″ x 4″) oil on canvas-board

The trickiest thing about this painting was the fuzzy texture of the ball. There are no glinting white highlights to ‘finish it off’, and the simple shape means you can’t fudge it in the same way as other organically shaped objects (think popcorn).

I was originally going to paint the ball on a plain green background (that’s how sleep-deprived / lazy I was), but added the white line at the last minute. I think it makes a real improvement.

Now it’s up to you to call it: Is the ball in or out?


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