24/03/2014 13:35 GMT | Updated 24/05/2014 06:59 BST

Cantering in the Dark With Stars Out

We drove out to the countryside as little niece had a horse riding lesson, it was dark and the stars were out. It was a magical little place, each stable had a hand-written description of the pony who lived in there, 'this is Jim, he is grumpy and might bite you', that kind of thing. We wandered around, a lovely fresh evening, the stables were cozily lit up from the inside, the smell of damp pine and hay, most of the ponies finished work for the day. The trees in the yard were sparkling with fairy lights, and the atmosphere was a bit like a 1970s Bunty comic, which is my only experience of horses, so the whole thing ticked quite a few boxes for me. Little niece rode well, she looked like a movie star, there is something dainty and elegant about her.

On the way back, there was a familiar feeling, I wondered what it was, driving in Norfolk at night, and suddenly my mother in great detail came flooding back to me. Her soft skin, her elegant long fingers, black hair, sweet and gentle demeanour, the clothes she wore in her later years, cardigans and such. I tried to recall her last car, but couldn't place it.

My knees feel much better, I hope there won't be any need for an MRI scan. I could just crack on with things now, perhaps not moving stuff for awhile. I'm longing for a walk on the beach.

I set to work on some paintings today, I've gotten into a mini routine of having two paintings on the go. I can distract myself from negative thought by working on both, or really it's the idea of working on both, maybe I'll get some more boards cut, so I can sort of work on four paintings, pipe dreams! I only 'roughed in' the second work, I'm not yo-yo-ing between them, that would feel like I was being unfaithful to the first work. I give full concentration to the first, but having roughed in the second work, it helps me feel more hopeful, it takes the pressure off slightly if you mess up. Whilst feeling failure or disappointment about one painting, you can look around and say to yourself "oh, but that one is going to be great...". When I have finished a painting, I find it hard to summon up the confidence to start on another, I can fall into a bit of a pit, so if there are already roughed in works, it's like I'm not really stopping. I'll probably do a different kind of work soon, I'll probably be in a different place. Though these works, feel like my main work, I keep coming back to them. I'll be bereft if they stop making this kind of paper!

There's a whole bunch of other things I want to make, I never seem to have the confidence to do, I wonder if travel will help me to do that.

I couldn't sleep last night, worrying about the future, no safety net, no base, worrying about travelling, though I know I'll be fine once I get organized and used to it. I have this really comforting thought, but it usually happens in the day, to just make good work, a nice simple thought, no matter where, that makes me feel better. Many notions have gotten chucked out over the years, till you hone down what really matters, after all the over thinking, not a lot has changed since age seven, only more self doubt. Going round and round in circles, the ideas are intrinsically the same. At night a confusion can come, worrying about all sorts, it probably wouldn't come at all, if I stopped drinking coffee, but I like the little kick, (massive kick), it gives me when I work. Trouble is, it can back fire and I end up a crazy mess. I shouldn't worry, all in all, things are pretty good at the moment.


('Vicky & Black Beauty', (acrylic on canvas 2005), collectors place Upstate NY, photo courtesy of JK, thank you x).