I haven't been sleeping well. Dog-tired at the end of a long day, I lie awake in the darkness for hours each night. When I drift off to sleep, it's restless, discomforting. This year has been one of the few in which I haven't worked constantly through Christmas and the first weeks of the New Year. I have a large number of commissions in enamel to repaint or repair but my reaction to the fumes – and the increased size of many of the works – means I can no longer do them alone. Late last year, I found a very good painter to replace the assistants whom I fired for not following my instructions (and causing an unprecedented slew of problems). Jim has very good skills and always works in the way I ask. Unfortunately, like every Australian, he had planned to go away with his wife and family over the southern summer break.I'm not used to having to rely on anyone else to help me to paint. In the past, when I had a lot of work on, I did whatever was necessary to get through it – regardless of the physical and mental cost. But I can't do that anymore. I can't do it to anyone else, either.I fretted while he was gone. I don't have many people in the inner circle of my life. I like to work with a very small, tight group, over a long period of time. Jim is someone I both like and trust: thus, someone very rare for me.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he returned to work today. Everything was as I needed it to be again. I worked faster and better. Now all I want are ten hours of uninterrupted sleep.