All I did was sit at my desk and pick up a brush pen.

Cherry blossoms, Zurich, 2023
The glasshouse, ink, watercolor and pastel on bookbinder’s board, 2023

“All I did was go to the library to pick up a book.”

Murakami Haruki in „The Strange Library“

This sentence by Murakami, or the variation in today’s title really describes best how a new painting idea slowly takes form on paper, or in this case, bookbinder’s board.

Books or walks are the seed, but the ideas only take root once I’m back at my desk. Like this cherry blossom branch I came across near Paradeplatz here in Zurich.

Last week I got a couple of missing tools to work with the Pitt monochrome pastels and I was eager to try them out on this cherry blossom composition.

Of course, ink is still at the basis of it all for me, so I work in layers. Ink first, watercolor wash next, pastel last – because „blur and smudge“ are nice, but obviously you and I alike don’t want it to come from the random dragging of a wrist across the board to add that fine ink detail.

I really like how the branch turned out. There is a little golden pigment as well, but its effect is very (almost too) subtle.

Now, what? There is evidently a large element missing to balance out our foreground branch, but what should it be? The street scene near the tree? An old building façade?

I think back on that garden walk where I had a mallard for companion. „Wouldn’t it be nice if a glasshouse was the background?“ I thought.

Glasshouses are small corners of mystery. There is always an element of surprise in the plants within, as they don’t give the full content away from the outside, despite all that parceled, thin glass. You can’t always make out whether someone is within either or what they’re up to. Is there a gardener inside, amidst the greenery? Or is it a single visitor? What is he or she really up to?

This particular glasshouse and the bench in front were in fact empty on the day I visited, but I decided to add two small characters, not so clearly defined, one outside, another inside, each to their own world… As if another story is about to begin.

“All I did was sit at the garden bench and…”

Unfortunately this is all I have time for this week. The next painting awaits.

How about you, where does your creative desk time lead you to?


Leave a Reply