Gromit unleashed 2 Artist Diary

So on the coach down to Cardiff, I decided to treat myself to premium Spotify as I had exhausted the pool of my favourite True Crime podcasts and I wanted to save the rest for my long journey home.

I will admit on my first trip to paint my Gromit I was overly anxious it wasn’t to soon after Saul died and my nerves were shoot, I didn’t want to be too far from Ben or from home. I wanted to get in there paint and get out. I personally wasn’t in the healthiest of mind sets.

The second time around venturing to Bristol I felt far more ready and far more capable. It wasn’t exactly the other side of the world but it was far enough for me on my own, given my current anxiety ridden state. I decided to book into the premier inn the was really close to the studio I was painting, as from the first few days I painted last month it was physically draining, I didn’t realise how much energy it would take me. So I treated myself I got there via the super early megabits from Cardiff as I was staying at my best friend Holly’s recently purchased first home. I arrived round 9:40 am and went on the hunt for the offices and studio. The lovely Emily greeted me and a ventured out to find my Gromit. Nestled in amongst other bubble wrapped prototypes and Gromit unleashed goodies sat my unfinished Gromit.

I was introduced to the lovely Paula Bowles another Artist like me who needed to complete her Gromit, So I settled down to work listening to Paula’s Music and got started. My approach to my painting probably isn’t the most professional I just pick the colours and paint, I didn’t fully follow my plan as this part was pre organised, I had intact followed my plans previously but once on the Gromit it did kind look incomplete so we came up with a few ideas to get it looking at its best.

I heard wonderful things about the cafe Penfold’s kitchen which was a 30 second walk from the studio, So I ventured outran stocked upon coffee and treats for myself to get my motivated for the rest of the afternoon. The sun was shining on the cobbled passage outside of the studio where I decided to take ten minutes to drink my Soya caramel latte and devour my cinnamon bun and it was the happiest I had been in the longest time. I felt so proud of myself for negotiating my dreaded anxieties.

So Penfolds coffee kept me going for the solid  two days of painting, so if you are in the area then go grab a coffee! So half way through the first day Paula had to dash off for a meeting, so this left me alone in the studio where I took full advantage of my spotify premium and blasted Courteeners st Jude rewired through my head phones, I’m adamant it was that album that got me through the next 6 hours of painting. Once I was in the thick of it painting my design on and going over areas I wasn’t to happy with it felt so good to be back at work, creating something so special and being allowed to be part of something wonderful.

At times I would get a flood of sad thoughts when I would think of how much I would of wanted to share my progress with Saul and how stoked he would of been for me, but I pushed pas those feelings to get the majority of the work down and onto Gromit.

Don’t worry I have plenty of photos of me actually painting and my design but its top secret! I have even made a Gif so when they are all unveiled you’ll be able to see.  But for now you’ll have to put up with the suspense of not knowing. We got to use the facilities for the old office space for the studio which was stacked full of prototypes of the mini Gromit designs that had gone before and I really felt proud that I had been selected, but I tried to not let this feeling overwhelm me to much as I feared I would completely freak out and mess up my painting.

It got to 6 pm on the first day of painting and I decided it would be about time I checked into my premier inn, I had plans to pop to a local shop and pick up a sandwich for tea, bubble bath so I could soak my stresses and text Lyzi that I would be bailing on our dinner date, she later replied relieved that I didn’t have the energy because neither did she.

I found myself checking into the premier inn with the lady at the front desk making me use a computer whilst trying to listen to her talking and giving me instructions. I just said no to a meal alone in the next door pub took my key card got in the lift dumped my bags in my oversized family room for one and ventured across the road to Tesco.

My night consisted of watching botched on the Tv and eating a sandwich followed by running myself the bubbliest bubble bath ever and submerging myself and reading Call me by your name so I could catch up on my book group (if you want to join in you can here at Bee’s Patreon)

I was so ready for the next day and to tackle the final day. I had to get all the work done, its times like this that sometimes I wished I worked in a creative pair so if I didn’t meet deadlines we could happily blame each other, alas I was plagued with thoughts of not being good enough and not completing the piece on time, all those negative thoughts before 10 am just shouldn’t be allowed right?! But I ventured to get a large coffee and another cinnamon bun because lets face facts calories don’t count when you aren’t at home, I greeted Paula and got started.

For me to hit the deadline and make sure I got all the work completed to a high standard I shoved my headphone in and got painting, Anyone that knows me will testify I am the messiest artist this side of the Thames. Even though I was wearing a knee length painting pinny I ended up with splodges of yellow and green paint all over my new Topshop Jamie jeans on later inspection. This is why I am not allowed nice things.

Lunch time rolled around again and I handpicked myself something nice up from Penfold’s Kitchen again and decided to bask in some sunlight at the back of the fire escape opposite our studio and I was quickly joined by a lazy border collie dog that just sat a few feet away from me making the most of the company I sat and ate my Tuna panini feeling grateful for being able to treat myself to simple luxuries and finally be able to call myself an artist.  I reluctantly dragged myself away from the friendly dog and took myself back inside the peaceful studio to spend the last few hours of the working week painting.

Every time I came to Gromit with fresh eyes there were more spaces to fill and more colour to overlap, being a Virgo I am the ultimate perfectionist when it comes to painting that I was so worried I just wouldn’t be satisfied at the end of the two days. But when 6 pm rolled around again, my inner voice was telling me enough is enough, I signed the piece by the tail and packed my goodies up. I also really needed the loo which prompted me to swiftly stop as the key to the toilet had to be handed back at 5pm every night.

uncaring I wedged my acrylic pallets into my tote bag, I am never overly fussed about getting paint on practically everything I own and I packed away my trusty acrylics that Saul had bought me last Christmas and I thanked my right arm for not aching too much and I said a final good bye to my Gromit as I locked up the studio on the hunt for the evening meal.

It was an absolute pleasure being picked as one of the 60 artists that will be exhibiting their statues at Gromit Unleashed 2 I’m so excited I have been told where mine will be but I will save that information for when they are all revealed you can find locations on the website and the unveiling will be July 2nd!


1 Comment

  1. Alexandra Fry
    February 20, 2019 / 9:41 pm

    Hi Ella.
    Just read your lovely article about Bristol in Bloom.
    I was lucky and fortunate enough to buy this Gromit at auction and he now lives in my front garden on the A38 towards Bristol Airport.
    I love him. Everyone thinks he is amazing. But the best thing ever is all the children that visit want their photo with him. I’m sure he will become a landmark to lots of people on their travels along the A38.
    Kindest regards
    Alexandra Fry

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