I have been painting almost every day, at my table on the veranda, in the Guest House in Shaxi.  I must be a strange sight, bent over in concentration, with a magnifying glass attached to my forehead.

Mostly people leave me alone.

Some have an impetuous curiosity, which seems to go along with an incredible lack of sensitivity.

What do you say to someone who asks you: “How many paintings do you do in a day?”

I don’t “do” paintings – each takes as long as it needs. Having said that, I am under a certain amount of pressure to create finished works within a time-frame. I could spend weeks on a single image, but I don’t have that luxury. So, rather hamstrung creatively, I must work faster than I would like – with compromises.

And a frequent question is: “Why don’t you just take digital photographs of the plants?” This is mostly answered by my showing them a painting and explaining that a single photo can’t show the detail, nor include the bud, flower, seed-head and root in a single image.

But some people just don’t get it.

I can generally judge the level of incomprehension I’m likely to encounter, but nothing prepared me for this one: “Why don’t you do it on the computer?”

What? Use a computer programme to draw the plant and colour it on the screen?

I was gob smacked – to use an old-fashioned expression.

And I’ll use an “old-fashioned” technique, thank you, for my art.

I remember a saying from my childhood: “Children and fools shouldn’t see things half done”.

I don’t need to justify my art. And, quite frankly, I’m not prepared to.

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