I was sat in my shed the other day, with a pristine, unopened sketchbook staring up at me accusingly from the table. I'll be honest with you, I was hoping for divine intervention.
For quite some time I just gazed from the pad to the brand new, 'professional' box of pastels, gently lifting them out, one at a time, then placing them neatly back into their custom-made beds of foam.
I've had them now for a couple of weeks. So why, you may ask, have they not had their first outing? The reason is, and I'm a little reluctant to admit - *whispers* - I've been too scared to use them.
Now there's a confession; though have opened them on many an occasion to admire and touch their utter perfectness.
Scared because I didn't think I could do them justice.
Scared because I truly didn't believe the end result would be worthwhile.
Scared because I thought they'd get the better of me.
Scared because......well, for all sorts of reasons, the least being, I don't really know what I'm doing (yet) when it comes to 'proper' pastel painting.
Picture this......a stand-off in a Wild West film. Me, Clint Eastwood style at one end of the dry, dusty and tumbleweed-strewn road and the pastels at the other.
I knew I'd have to win this one.
'It's you or the pastels, kid.' Slurred the half-asleep Sheriff, somewhat unhelpfully.
'So you think you can paint with me dude? Dicing with a professional set, y'all hear? 'Think you're good enough?' Came a mocking voice from inside the box.
And so I decided that I couldn't put it off any longer; it was them or me.
I reached for... my camera.
I did something that I've never done before and that was to record every step of the journey through photographs. I knew I would eventually learn something about myself at the end of the process, be it good or bad.
I can't pretend it was an easy journey,fraught with mistakes and sometimes utter frustration, but I'm pretty darn sure there was an Angel standing at my table watching over me. (I'm a soppy wee thing...)
And yes, I did learn something about myself........
'Confidence is such a fragile and precious thing.' David Duval