A groggy stumble down the stairs. A quick fumble with the toaster and the coffee maker, then it begins. Smells of cinder toffee, coffee, cinnamon and raisins, along with toasting bagel dough waft through the house. I finish ironing, sniffing through steam in anticipation of the autumnal aroma that creeps like fog along the ground; sweet and bitter, brought together with butter, the delicious dark notes of the year compliment the outside dew and chill.
The scents of warmth that I feel give me new attack on the painting before me. I relax into small brush strokes that highlight and shade. The feel of the whole piece starts to solidify in my mind and appear on the paper. This is the time when character and atmosphere are created, when the lines pencilled in are given texture and personality. If the sketching is the development of the character, this is the performance!
I bite into the bagel, and feel the warmth of the butter (which I overspread), dribbling off the bread, before washing it down with the sweet and smokey cinder toffee coffee, which has a woodiness that compliments the dark earthiness of the coffee. Whilst my mouth delights in this combination, and indulges in food that coaxes me back to life, my body finds its rhythm slowly, and I find myself pushing ideas further and further on the page, delighting in the detail and richness of the scene - making the fantastic a reality.
This relationship between the stimulation of taste and odour and my imaginative process has many facets. Most obviously food, and especially smells, evoke a sense of place - but also of ideas. Eating the bagels, smelling the coffee and the cinnamon I am transported to many places on my tongue: it is late winter in New York at the Tasty Dinner on 30th street; it is an English park full of conkers on a misty autumn morning; it is outside the Pantheon at the cool break of a summer's day watching tourists arrive to begin their awe.
With all this flooding in, it is hardly surprising that I feel a need to create, to explore and to wonder.