Finding grace in preparation

I started painting on board towards the end of last year, and have discovered that it works well for me.

 Because my paintings usually begin with quite a detailed drawing, I've found I'm much happier with the smooth surface of board rather than the knobbly surface of a canvas. The smaller the canvas, the more annoying the knobbles.

Pre-made, pre-stretched canvas always comes ready-primed, which means you are free to start slapping on colour right away. But I get my boards cut for me at the local timber merchant, which means I need to prime them myself.

At first I found this irritating – I have to wait quite a while between coats, and also it takes a fair bit of patience and a steady hand to ensure the primer goes on smoothly.

But today it struck me that this practice of priming my boards is actually quite meditative – akin to taking a breath and tuning into whatever it might be that will appear on those boards. Like a dancer preparing her shoes, or when Martial Arts students bow for a class, as a gesture of respect for their practice.

I suppose what I'm talking about is mindfulness. Or, to quote Edina from Absolutely Fabulous: 'I'm trying to do my mindlessness!'