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First coat – Writer-insighter
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First coat

I don’t think I’m very good with painting. Not galleries; I’m fine wandering around a gallery, Covid-allowing. One of the first things I’m doing when I’m allowed to is going to Eastbourne, to see the wondrous Eric Ravilious exhibition at the Towner Gallery. I missed it when it was in Dulwich because the queue was so long, six years back and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. There are some of his paintings at the Imperial War Museum and pathetically, just one at the British Museum, and an atypical one at that.

Aldeburgh, by Eric Ravilious. The bathing machines have gone.

Today was boat paint day, the first time it’s been warm enough or dry enough to even attempt to make the Drascombe look decent. The thing that happens with boat painting has happened: it looks ten times worse than it did when I started. They always do.

I got the first coat on. It’s run. It’s blotchy. I can’t get another coat of paint on today without dragging paint off that I’ve already put on. I couldn’t see the bits I’d missed until I’d put all the paint away because I thought it was going to rain, which it hasn’t yet but look as if it’s going to a lot tonight.

I’m not really worried about the paint coming off in the rain, because it’s boat paint, obviously. It’s not just that it’s supposed to resist water, but more the fact that a lot of boat people paint their boats on a slipway at low tide. There are two tides every day, 12 hours apart. That means paint would have to dry enough to stay on in about three to four hours. So that’ll be ok.

It’s just it looks terrible. It’ll be ok. It’ll certainly be ok by the time I’m allowed to go to the boatyard again, which looks like 12th April, just over a month away. But I mean, just look it it now.

White over black anti-foul. The way boats should be.

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