The Miser – Late Night Painting and Letting Go

Thanks to the wonders of WordPress, I have just been notified that it’s been exactly three years since I started this page!

I have no idea what a three year anniversary should entail.. Roses? Wine? A candlelit dinner?
All I’ve got in is a pack of kimchi instant noodles and a bottle of cranberry juice, so I decided to do this instead.

To celebrate the third year of my site, here is the third painting I sold from my last show. I was going to do these in order, but today the third seems fitting.


Selling this piece meant a lot to me, because of the six in this series I found it by far the most difficult and emotional to paint. I don’t like to go on too much about process because it tends to sound pretentious and awful, but bear with me. I’ll try to be brief.

The way I create these involves building up layers of ink. I draw accurate portraits in great details, one layer over another, building up colour. So I draw each one three or four times in layers, perfecting the image as I go, working into it, getting the light and shade just right…

And then I destroy it. The ink I use is water soluble, and the second I get my paintbrush out and paint it with water I lose all control over the portrait I’ve just perfected. The ink and water combine into terrifying little rivers and run and spread in ways you can guide, but never control. Being a perfectionist, and a control-freak, letting go of the perfect drawings and accepting what the water makes of them is difficult, important to me, and often quite emotional.

the miser
The Miser is trying to keep things still and unchanging.

This one in particular had me pretty upset.. Finish it at about 4am, knowing I had work in a matter of hours the next day, didn’t help… but it was also one of the ones that changed the most from its conception to completion. It was also a good lesson, because in my opinion (now) it is one of the most enchanting.

Last year, a friend of mine read my tarot cards. I’m a bit of a skeptic, but I do think it’s an amazing way to focus a bit of introspection. The card I got was The Miser – a horrible old woman clinging on to her possessions – she’s surrounded by jewels and gold and tat. Although at home I am a massive, sentimental hoarder, at the time I was traveling, and had very little in the way of physical possessions around me, so I didn’t think much of it. After looking it up though, we found out it can also refer to emotional baggage. I was clinging on to old ideas, dead friendships, and guilt and anger from my past that had nothing to do with where I am now. It was a good night in, and we talked for hours, but it also stuck with me. Letting go, and relinquishing control became a really important part of my process and something I have to constantly remind myself of in my life.

In fact, it’s time to stop typing now and head up to my room. I think I’m due a bit of a clear out.


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