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  • I shower and shave, pull on a clean shirt.

    We walk out our street towards the setting sun.

    Turn right onto Beech Square.

    Recently renovated it’s got bars, a new coffee bar, new restaurants, lots of tables and seating out on the street. It’s fashionable, it’s hipster, it’s Billyburg, it’s Berlin; it’s here.

    It works.
    Weekend’s it’s humming.

    This evening, Tuesday, it’s quieter. We choose a restaurant. We’re eating out. We have something to celebrate: I’ve finished The Fish.

    We check the menu and order the fish. For fun, because I’ve finished The Fish, but also because it looks like the best option on tonight’s menu: grilled whole Dorade from the Green EGG with caponata and rosemary potatoes.

    It’s delicious.

    It looks suspiciously like the one we are celebrating, especially when we’ve finished eating.

    ***
    My Finnish colleague had started the project. But she recently returned to Finland to begin a study which she had already planned , and which will take a year. I was asked to complete the project.
    She had laid down a good foundation, scaling up the maquette, shaping the forms, and now it was my task to fine tune the details of the modelling and do the finishing painting.
    I had seen the maquette and was dying to get teeth into it.

    ***
    At Lentas Maravillas Kristen curls up with a book plucked off the shelves. Julian Barnes.

    ***
    Back at my apartment in Amsterdam I cross the room to my bookshelves and dust off the older of the two Julian Barnes I have.

    I can recall Barnes had something to say about artists getting stuck in.

    In chapter five ( entitled Shipwreck) of “The History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters”, Julian Barnes writes an essay dealing with the events surrounding and leading up to the ‘Raft of the Medusa’, a human and political tragedy in French history, and the subsequent painting created by the French painter Théodore Géricault, which now hangs in the Louvre.

    In preparation of the arduous task of painting the vast canvas of five by seven metres, Géricault shaved his head, locked himself in his studio and began by making drawings and painted studies of severed heads, limbs and dead bodies.

    I can relate to this kind of madness; this dedication. The need to get stuck in, to knuckle down; albeit without the cadavers and body parts.

    When I am painting or sculpting I enter into a timeless void of concentration and flow. I am almost not responsible for what is happening, although I am definitely the one who is making the piece. It is as if a greater knowledge or energy is being channelled through me. I know and feel connected with all the artists of all the ages and feel their auspiciousness smile upon me.

    The Fish I have finished certainly won’t hang I the Louvre, but it will be seen by many people as a part of a theatre production where all the elements of production design, sets, props, lighting, costumes, music and song come together as one; a gesamtkunstwerk

    ***
    The dorade was delicious.

    I finished The Fish.
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