Morocco is light and arid, moves like a flexible net down the field, each player aware of his place in the fabric that is his team. Belgium, ranked second in the world, seems to have no central heart beat, they play heavy, separate from each other, without poetry. When Morocco scores its second, elegant game-closing goal the stadium explodes in euphoria.

I feel as though I’ve just finished the last line of a riveting short story; it is a morning of astonishment.

Buckthorn Green and Apple ink shift into each other over a white acrylic wash. I’ve never seen colour more alive on a canvas. It glows like a shock. Moves like sped-up mycelial growth, feathers out, searches. As I watch in wonder, Buckthorn Green takes over my entire piece, as if to say, ‘HA. Do you respect me now?’ All this from a tree that overhangs the lane to my cabin, the one I did my best to annihilate in 2021. I am humbled, change my plan. Again.

Logwood/Cochineal red is so transparent I need to layer it over the semigloss sealer to get a decent shadow. It dries for two days before I seal it again, but as soon as the liquid touches the red it becomes a livid violet that breaks up like ice floes in the spring. Mesmerized, I watch my plan dissolve again.

I’ve learned to move with the shifts, to let them show me where they want to go. So far it’s always somewhere I’ve never been before.

I need darks. Iron Gall violet and a lighter iron green I made at Thanksgiving go onto acrylic wash as light grey, but as the ferrous kicks in (or maybe the wine?) it punches a hole in the drawing that I can’t get back, not without making mud. I load up a big brush and throw white at it.

Moments later Canada scores a goal in the first minute of its game against Croatia. Never mind what happens next, that goal is beautiful.

Paintings are done and sealed – just seven of them, but that’s enough, on several levels. I’ll wire them, sign them, and box the corners so they’re ready for transport on Thursday. While England plays Wales I’ll finish a playful interactive piece that people can write and draw on in the gallery. Sometimes I need distraction when England plays.

All pieces now edged, wired and signed. Just as I finish the fun piece, England scores! Then twice more to climb to the top of the World Cup rankings. It’s like my dad is here in the studio with me.

Show hangs in two days; I get tomorrow off to peel myself out of hyper-focus and go to orchestra rehearsal.

After this year-long climb of ink experience, I am resolved; over the holidays I will take myself to this buckthorn tree in my lane and just sit down to listen my apology for as long as it takes. When it’s my turn to talk, I’ll tell them about The World Cup.

After Lockdown” is my part of a joint show with the wonderful Eileen Earnshaw at Centre3 Member’s Gallery on James North in Hamilton. Show runs from Friday December 3 to January 2 and opens during Art Crawl on Friday December 9.

I’m happy to do personal tours – write to me & we’ll set it up.