I’m so pleased to report that since last week, my back seems to be recovering in leaps and bounds. Sadly, this analogy is purely symbolic; I fear that actual leaps and bounds may still be some way off!

This post is, I’m afraid, a straightforward sequel to last week’s series of sickbed sketches – although you can discern some signs of improvement in my condition from the ‘background’ in some of these sketches. Some were done whilst still lying in bed, but some were done while sitting upright at a table no less!

Again, many of these were taken from Alvaro Castagnet’s paintings but they still keep my brushes moving and my mind occupied. While I’m painting them, I’m constantly analysing them, what makes them work, what order were things done in, what decisions have been made, what may have been omitted and what may have been added. I hope that all of this will feed into my approach to my own paintings. And if they don’t? Well, there’s no harm done!

This first sketch hopefully illustrates a little of what I mean. This isn’t based on one of Alvaro’s paintings, but it is from a reference photograph rather than a painting:

The following sketches are all based on paintings, or sections of paintings, by Alvaro Castagnet:

I’m hopeful (ever the optimist!) that my back is now well on the road to recovery.

In many ways, I think it’s served as a cautionary shot across the bows that I need to be taking a little better care of myself. Fear not, this doesn’t mean I’ll be stepping back from my watercolour painting.

What I think it will mean is some changes to how I work in the months ahead, especially in terms of dedicating some time for regular exercise (even if it’s just a quick walk around the block to get away from the desk and the computer screen).

Maybe this might also serve as a cautionary tale to others too! Far better to put some small changes in place now than to leave it until something major happens! I wouldn’t like to think of others going through the sort pain and discomfort that I’ve experienced of late when, in many cases, it may be easily avoidable.

Okay, sermon over, I’ve off to do some stretches!

7 thoughts on “Yet more sketches from the sick bed!

    1. Thanks Warren – am still feeling more limber by the day which is great! It’ll be interesting to see if I can continue this vein of work when I’m upright! (If not, I may have to return to lying down to paint all the time!)

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  1. Hi John, glad to see you’re on the mend. Thankfully it’s your back and not your right hand. A friend of mine is so crippled with arthritis in her hands she can hardly hold a brush. Anyway, glad you’re feeling better.
    I had a question regarding your blog about the Binning Monro palette. I would like to buy one of the metal Holbein’s and wondered where I could find one. Could I ask where you got yours. Also, which would you recommend, the 1000 or the 500. Silly question probably and largely dependent on how limited your palette is. Anyway, that was my question. Happy painting, stay safe!

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    1. Hi David and thanks for this, I think the 500 or the 1000 palette is largely down to whether you’re using it in the studio or travelling with it too. The 1000 is quite large. I’ve also replied to your other comment on these palettes and I’d be happy to provide more details on the ones that I have if that would be helpful, just let me know.

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  2. I hope that you are continuing to mend. Back problems stink; I have a bad disk in my lower back – surgery on late 2007. Get better and be careful.

    Love your sketches. I especially like the 5th frame in the photo series, as well as the 7th. Get better, and I hope that you will get to have a wonderful holiday before too long.

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    1. Thanks so much Tim, so pleased you like these sketches but sorry to hear that you’ve also suffered with your back – it really can be most debilitating (not to mention incredibly painful!) Hopefully I’ll not be needing surgery (at least not this time!)

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      1. I hope you can get healed. Indeed, back injuries can be tough. I blew out a disk in my lower back in 2004, and out of my own stupidity didn’t get surgery for 3 years. It helped a lot, but I still need to be careful. I don’t run anymore, and I gave up horse riding for the most part. But I am definitely way better than before surgery. Take care of yourself and be careful. Happy painting! 🙂

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