No, not me, my smock...
Readers who've been looking in for a while may recall the special significance of the smock that I work in:
Pastels are a very messy business and, for over 10 years now, I have been wearing this wonderfully grubby old painter's smock, which used to belong to my grandad.
Here he is wearing it in the mid 80's, so it's probably been going for about 30 years! Before retirement, Grandad was a restoration artist (he worked on the ceiling paintings at Blenheim Palace, where he met the Queen) but he was also a fanatical painter, right to the day he died. He mainly liked to copy old masters in oils.
Wearing his old smock has felt like a lovely homage to him. Under my pastel dust there are still daubs of his oil paint, and putting it in the washing machine makes little difference to the grungy colour.
It even has little holes in the front where occasionally Grandad dropped half-smoked roll-ups into his lap while he painted, but was so deep in concentration, he didn't notice!
This is him painting much earlier: I can't believe he's in a shirt and tie!! The photo must predate the smock, as you can just make out a paint-splattered shirt hanging in the background. Perhaps he was posing for the photo and that's why he isn't wearing it. Check out that TV!
Though I don't believe in such things, I confess I have occasionally thought it would be nice if Grandad had looked in on me wearing his smock.
Unfortunately, after so many years of loyal service, the poor thing is finally falling apart. I've kept it going as long as possible but, as you can see, the cotton is actually rotting away. Sadly, the time has come to lay it to rest and christen a new one.
Here's me in the studio, testing out the new incarnation: smart, but not quite the same, eh? Don't worry: I'll keep Grandad's old one safe. I couldn't possibly throw it away after all this time.