It's one pm when I enter Kate's studio. Lesley Kamel has just arrived also and is having a laugh with Kate.


So what else is happening? Mark McGreehin is here and at work on sound and video recording, and Kirsty McKeown from Generator has been here. Her handiwork is the yellow text along the horizon of the painting. What does it say? Well, I can read what it says:


Not much sign of sinking he(art) in the studio. Kate's pleased that several people have dropped by, but that's not what she's laughing about. She's laughing about something very 'in the moment' with Lesley. I just happen to have caught it on camera.


As for me, I'm soon up to speed. I've told Kate and Lesley that I suspect Samuel Beckett would have preferred the phrase 'ARSE SINKS, ARSE SOARS', but what I'm trying to demonstrate in the photo below is 'ELBOWS SOAR, KNEES SOAR'. Hopefully, I'll get around to thinking more deeply about Kirsty's contribution in due course, this is just my instinctive response to being here today. To being alive. Still.


Kate points out that Jonathan Baxter's presence is still here from yesterday. I would have assumed nothing less.


I point out that Jonathan has had the arrogance to initial the picture at the foot of the silhouette he painted.


Kate realises full well that it's me that has written 'J.B.'. But the fact that I've painted 'J' and 'B 'reminds her that Jonathan painted out the letter 'V' on the opposite wall. I see what she means:


The wall now states: 'WE ARE GOING TO LIVE SUCH LIES'.

It gives rise to the variation: 'WE ARE GOING TO LIE SUCH LIVES.'

But Kate has painted back the missing 'V' without painting out the other. So 'WE ARE GOING TO LIVE SUCH LIVES' it is.

Meanwhile, Lesley is working on the head of the painting's left-hand figure, a head which she's already been working on in days one and two of the paintathon.

Busy Kate is trying to create space for those who might turn up for day four. This involves some difficult decisions. It means painting over some great work by Emil, me, Sarah, me, Jonathan and Kathryn.

From my vantage point in the paddling pool (aka top of the mountain) I call out the supposedly cooling phrase: 'FOOT SINKS, FOOT SOARS'. But neither Lesley nor Kate turn around to acknowledge the wisdom of my contribution.


Lesley has already told us she's not feeling very well today. And now she's telling us that she can't seem to paint. She's had several goes at the face of the left-hand figure, but keeps rubbing it back, unsatisfied by its expression. My own view is that when Lesley does rub it back, the vagueness of the features gives the girl a dreamy look, and that whenever Lesley strives for definition, it doesn't quite come off. Indeed, that would be a much more difficult thing to pull off, potentially taking hours of concentration.


I tell Lesley that at this particular moment, there is a sort of PIcasso look to the face she's painting. I mean Les something d'Avignon. Lesley turns round and suggests that the composition as a whole reminds her of the Manet painting, Dejeuner something. I go to the computer at the back of the studio and look that up. Sure enough, Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe is a pretty good reference point for Kate's picture. Or maybe not. Three figures in the foreground, check. But where is the mountain? And the male/female imbalance when it comes to clothes is striking!


I move up to the canvas to record Lesley rubbing back the left-hand figure's features one more time. I feel her frustration now, so don't say anything false-bright. I just stand there, alongside her, offering what support I can by the often underestimated power of silence.


It's nearly 3 o'clock. Lesley will be back tomorrow. So will Mark. And we are expecting friends Tara, Claire, Carmel and Gerry. So that's all good. Meanwhile Zoe Irvine, one of the tutors from the MFA in Art, Society and Publics, who was here this morning, has revisited. And this time she has put on a paintathon t-shirt and has painted a bright, bold new horizon. Something for us all to aspire to.


"HEARS OINKS, HEARS OARS," says Kate, in some kind of rural accent. She looks like she's joined some little friends on the grassy mound. I mean joined them for real.


"HEARS OINKS, HEARS WILD BOARS," Kate clarifies, to Cathy Roberts. Cathy was Kate's (very non-Swiss) neighbour in Bromborough on the Wirral, where Kate was living when she received the postcard from Gaga back in 1960.

In those bygone days, Kathy persuaded Kate to step into the hen house, which she was then locked up in. The insouciant Cathy Roberts then disappeared for half an hour until 'realising her mistake'.

Fifty-odd years later, Cathy Roberts invites Kate to step into the hen house again.


"Actually, it's your turn, Cathy. You go into the hen house this time," says Kate, all grown up and in control. "Though I think you'll find it's a goat that's presently holed up in there. And it's been in there without fizzy drinks or sweets since not long after the paintathon started."

Cue Bob Dylan:
"How does it feel? To be on your own. With no direction home. Like a complete unknown. Like a rolling stone."