The Art of Painting a Garden Fence

Stepping Stones -Cannock Chase. UK

This week I took a week away from my usual day job. My usual day job being nothing to do with art, and in fact couldn't be further away, although some of the issues I get asked to resolve, do require some seriously creative thinking. I do enjoy the day job, but I am waiting for the time when I am able to take up my two current hobbies, art and blogging on a more permanent basis.

I have managed to update this blog periodically, but time off is a rare thing, and the day to day running of that thing called a home demands that on occassion I o have to do those normal things. This week weatherwise was reasonable for April in the UK. We even had temperatures of 20 degrees, and that meant one thing. It was time to paint the garden fence

130 feet of garden fence to be precise. Now, I love painting, but generally the extent I paint is limited to either a canvas or an iPad screen. Painting a fence I can tell you, is an entirely different art form all together. Firstly, you're always painting with one colour. Well, that's not true. I ended up painting with two colours, because despite the fact that I had painted 27 feet of fence already, the wife decided that the colour was awful and it needed to be done again, but this time in a colour that was more to her taste. I.e. about one shade darker

With new fence paint, and I'm not entirely sure this is actually what it's called, I proceeded to paint over the 27 feet of fence I had just one hour before already painted. The real issue was that certain parts of the fence get far more sun than the other parts. That means that there is no way of telling what the colour is finally going to look like until all fence panels were uniformly dry. Thankfully the second coat of paint seemed to do the job of making the wife happy. Just nother 103 feet to go.

The wood drank the paint like it was dying of thirst in the Gobi Desert. The real issue for me was that at least 50 feet of fence was hiding behing some prickly bushes. By the time I had finished, you couldn't see the cuts on my arms, because I had managed to get far more paint on me than on the fence. Once washed off, my injuries became apparent. It was like I had been slashed by the bride of Chuckie.

The pain was immense. I give fair warning to anyone climbing over the fence to retrieve their ball. Firstly, the ball will be flat. Nothing can survive the evil spikes on whatever those plants are called. Secondly, you will be torn to pieces. A better bet would be to dive into a coil of razor wire. Far less risk of injury, although I wouldn't advise doing that either.

After 11 hours, the fence was done. I'm not sure if I had more paint on me than the fence did, but hey, at least the wife was happy. I contemplated taking my arms to the accident and emergency department. They had swollen up considerably after I got out of the shower. In the end, I decided to leave it overnight and see how they were in the morning. I also didn't want to explain how these serious injuries were obtained, for fear of being ridiculed.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and not only were the cuts more visible, I had pain in my legs that I couldn't begin to explain to you. Clearly, my legs are not used to performing such a range of movement. I couldn't get out of bed without producing sounds even I didn't know I could produce. Worse was to come. I had promised to take the Daughter for a walk in the local forest.

Cannock Chase is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is popular with dog walkers and people who buy the latest Berghaus jackets, usually reserved for climbing the highest peaks of Tibet. I have lived in the area for years, and rarely do I venture into the Chase. There is no doubt that it is beautiful, an artists dream, and there is lots of history to the area.

900 years ago, the Chase wasn't used for settlements, the soil was too sandy to grow any crops, and the oak forests were used primarily for hunting. In 1290, the Royal hunting rights were passed from the King to the Bishops of Lichfield. Lichfield is around 8 miles away and is itself a beautiful city, albeit a city you can walk across in around 15 minutes.

In the 16th Century, the forests were mainly cut down for charcoal burning for use in the local iron industry. After this the Chase became quite bare. During World War I, there were two training camps on the Chase. During World War II, an RAF training camp was built. There is also a German Military Cemetry, and lots of walks and trails that take you through other areas of interest.

One of these areas of interest is the Stepping Stones of Cannock Chase. This is the place myself and the daughter were headed for. Despite living close to the area, I must say that I'm not forever walking the Chase, and am less aware than the many tourists that visit of some of the more popular spots. They always say ask a local for advice, really though you don't want to ask me.

I had printed off a map of the area, and it looked like the Stepping Stones were around a gentle 15 minute stroll away. After around 10 minutes I needed some confirmation that we were close, so I asked a dog walker where we would need to head in order to find them. With a wry smile he suggested that they were just beyond that steep hill, then take a left, then a right and then another left. Bearing in mind that the 10 minute walk from the car was already making my legs scream in pain.

Just over an hour of getting lost, climbing hills, climbing over fallen trees, we eventually made it to the Stepping Stones. I had intended at this point to continue on to the Seven Springs, but a fence post marker indicated that it was a mile further on. My legs sent an immediate message to my brain to tell it not to be so stupid. At that point we headed back to the car, getting completely lost on the way back. The entire journey took us just under three and a half hours.

That's not a great deal of time for a walk, except that my arms were swollen, and my legs were about to burst into flames, such was the pain. My advice to you if you want to do this walk, make sure you have legs that are not burning before you set out, and also take plenty of water and a map. One thing I have learned is that it is really easy to get lost on Cannock Chase, and there is no Starbucks at the end of the trail. There is also no mobile phone signal once you are deep into the woods. Had it have been cold, I think I too would have took a Berghaus.

I did manage to take a few shots of the area, but I hadn't took a camera and needed up using the iPhone. The photos aren't the greatest, and next time I go I will be more prepared and take the camera, and a rucksack with a flask of coffee.

So, as to the rest of the week, I have managed to have a look at what's going on online in the art world. I even managed to finish a couple of new pieces of art off, and although exhausted from the trauma of the last two days, I also managed to complete a couple more pieces which I will post on Fine Art America and Zazzle at some point today or tomorrow.

On April 22nd, Christie's New York will be offering An Inquiring Mind. An American collection of Japanese and Korean art,Metin a selection of 130 works from private and public collections. The sale has prices estimated to be between $1500 and $600,000 includes works of antiquity, screens, paintings, ceramics, prints, and sculptures.

Leading the sale will be a pair of recently discovered screens attributed to Hasegawa Tohaku, who is one of the most influential artists from the Momoyama period.

Also in New York, Christie's will announce the auction of one of Lucian Freud’s most famous and iconic paintings, Benefits of Supervisor Resting which is an oil on canvas, painted in 1994. It is estimated to fetch between $30m and $50m. It will be the highlight of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary sale on May 13th. My guess is that the work will hit the higher end of the estimate. There is a huge gap between $30m and $50m, so I'm going to say that it will probably hit around $44m, but I wouldn't be surprised if it went above the $50m price as well. If it goes for less, then someone has a bargain.

So what am I doing today? Aside from finishing off a few pieces that I am sure will one day be worth about $500, I can happily say that whatever else I do today will certainly not include walking or painting the fence.

Why not head over to my other site, and take a look at some of my recent works. I also have an extended range available through Zazzle which can be found at

Have a great weekend, and keep a look out for my new releases.

You can follow M.A on Facebook at, On Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest @beechhousemedia



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