It is the Blairgowrie team of Carmel Ward and me that get things started.

Well, no, Kate and her technical support team - Holly Keasey and Mark McGreehin - have been in the studio since 9am. But it is Carmel and me that take up charcoal and make the first marks. First, we draw a diagonal from the left edge to the bottom edge. (That's the mound done.) Then a line from the right edge to the bottom. (That's the forest demarcated.) And then we draw a zig-zag that represents the mountain-blue horizon.

Emboldened, we go on and mark out the rough positions of the three figures. But it is a relief to turn from the concentration that this involves (error heaped on error which I fear may have repercussions for the composition later) to daubing blue, blue, blue on the sky.

When Allan Davies turns up I take a break. Now Allan is a proper painter and he immediately gets stuck into skilfully rendering the middle figure's head.


By the time Kate takes up a brush, Allan has left off, suggesting that he'll come back and do some more detailed work on the head once the paint has dried.


I ask Allan if we can see what he's working on in his own studio. (Allan Davies is on the Art and Humanities MFA, which he is doing part-time, so he graduates next summer.) Carmel, Mark and I are met with the following scene which takes time for our eyes to adjust to. Wow, what a low horizon!


It's a portrait of a woman who Allan first met while he was doing the BA here at Dundee as a mature student. The tortoise, the wagtail and the parrot are keys to the young woman's personality, apparently. The tortoise suggests wisdom, the parrot flair and the wagtail - for me - suggests an inquisitive, flexible mind.

As we're walking back to Kate's studio, I'm wondering if I should attempt to persuade the group to turn our three figures into animals. In fact, maybe that's already happened while we've been away. Let's see...


Well, no, the painting hasn't changed much in the last ten minutes but we have three new painters. From left to right, Lucas Battich (just in shot), Beth Savage and Lesley Kamel (with Carmel on the right). All three have been successful students of art at DJCAD; all three remain active on the Dundee art scene.

Meanwhile, Kate has made a move. She's been bothered for some time that the figures which Carmel and I sketched were too large. Accordingly, the head that Allan has painted is out of proportion and must be painted over. I don't think that any of the rest of us would have been bold enough to undo another participant's work, but it's different coming from the project's instigator. Is that a tear I see falling from the disappearing boy's eye?


I go on to watch progress from the cooling water of the paddling pool that Kate has thoughtfully provided. As Beth observes when she takes a turn in the pool, it makes for a grand viewpoint. You see things with a calm perspective. Trouble is, the painting is just too far away to reach with a paintbrush. Too remote for one to make the adjustments one sees as necessary if the SUBLIME is truly to be approached. And my shouting out instructions to Carmel ("Greener grass!") and Lucas ("Taller trees!") might not go down too well. Mutual respect is the most important thing right now. Mutual respect may always be the most important thing here.


A few minutes later, I see that Beth has suggested where the heads of the figures might be with pale yellow shapes. And Lesley has started to add detail to the figure on the left.


Lesley, Carmel and Holly are all working on the canvas when I ask if they'll turn round and display their 'THIS IS JUST WHAT IT'S LIKE' t-shirts. It's a pity to distract them from their work. Maybe tomorrow we should wear the t-shirts back-to-front so that the juxtaposition of actual image and ironic text will always be there.


In the image below, Lesley is largely responsible for the figure on the left, Carmel has reintroduced the boy's head and I've made the figure on the right look like Shakespeare. Or a wooden puppet of Shakespeare.


As you see below, Kate has given red shoes to the wooden puppet and Kostas Baritakis, who is also on the MFA in Art, Society and Publics, has added a sausage dog by way of a neck warmer.

Just before this feverish activity, we'd had a group crit, asking each other how we wanted the painting to look by close of play, as there was only twenty minutes of painting time left. Kostas had admired the bits of the composition that had seemed to him to be energised and had suggested he might try and energise other parts.


Now that the figure on the right has been energised (see below), I'm thinking Hitler rather than Shakespeare. This hasn't put me off from trying to introduce the text: 'WE ARE GOING TO LIVE SUCH LIVES'. I've done that because those words are written on the wall facing the wall with the painting, and so none of us has been paying them much attention today.


"Stop painting!" shouts the mythical timekeeper. We are all pleased that Lesley has managed to paint a goat onto the left side of the canvas as - when she walked in today - she said that her sole intention was to paint said goat onto the canvas. As for Mark, he's been switching on and off the two static cameras. He's been reminding Kate to use the hand-held audio recorder and - at the moment I've caught him in this still - he's been switching off the audio recorder installed in the back of the canvas.


Has the first day given rise to raw material that will make a good film? Time will tell. As for today - June 10, 2014 - it's over and out from Strange Bundle. Tune in again tomorrow evening and we'll see where the canvas has
got to.

Thanks to all today's participants. If anyone wants to add or omit anything let us know and it will be done.