Starting a new painting is a daunting prospect that can stop me in my tracks. Like treading on fresh snow, making the first marks on a painting can also be thrilling. But I really need a boot up my bum this time. I'm sure there are plenty of offers coming my way.

These are bits I found at the auction or antiques shops. I have dismantled, stripped the lovely old wooden pieces back, they were all heavily varnished. I then sized with rabbit skin glue and prepared my gesso ground on my double boiler. Several weeks and layers later I have solid enough gesso ground to work on. A fine sand and dust off and I'm ready to go! The half walnut table was beautiful stripped back and my wood loving dad would have gasped as I slapped that lovely creamy gesso over the matched walnut surface. It isn't even veneer! Ouch.

I did leave a portion showing just to make myself cringe later at transforming a beautiful piece of furniture. As you can see I have started looking for interesting shaped and decorated pieces to paint on. Being inspired by architectural icons, ancient sculptural gesso works, including caskets, boxes and shrines.

I have been experimenting with burnt offerings while preparing these. Rituals and drawing with fire, wax and found natural objects whilst also playing with sculpted gesso fabric. Playing is the game, which is why being faced with a white surface is so hard. After spending so much time on preparation it is hard not to get precious about starting the work. I'm generally not precious about my work to the point of stupidity. I like to give work away and it has ended up in a skip at times. It's the process of learning and discovery that has been important, the growth that gives you.

Having said this I am drawn to the ancient, the survivor, the relic. So therefore, shouldn't I work with this in mind? Something that is real and tangible, that will last, I can bury for the future! Everything is so digital, temporary and transient that I feel drawn to substance in the earthy realness of human existence. Fire, stone, earth, water, touch, taste, tread. Don't worry I'm not about to roll in the mud and set fire to myself. This isn't a performance piece. Which is probably why I'm drawn to Neolithic sites, Medieval arts and my own personal narratives of trauma, loss and memory, that tangible stuff I can piece together. I feel like I need to make something solid, a portal to the past. About my own personal history that may otherwise be lost in other people’s memories.

Must be my age? Answers on a postcard or diary post please.