Saturday, 5 July 2014

A Painterly Day

What a fantastic day I have had today.  Months ago I signed up to a Day Painting Course through Watercolour TV.  I wanted to go last year, but life was crap and we were in chaos with Toby’s move.

This year I managed to miss the details of the one in April, but managed to get on this course.

Well – almost didn’t.  Having woken up really early, thinking it was Friday, I turned over and went back to sleep.  Next thing I knew it was 9.15 and the course started at 10.00…. oh poo

Ran around the house like demented flea (not a good vibe to have in your minds eye, but you get the gist.) managing to get to the course within 10 min to spare.  But realised I had my wrong glasses.

Thankfully Himself was happy to go and sort the situation out, and I got stuck into trying to get a handle on what on earth was going on !!  I struggled even to work out how to organise myself a cup of tea.

It really is horrible when you arrive somewhere and it is clear that everyone has either been there before or knows someone they are with.  I need not have worried… at least I recognised the Course Tutor – Matthew Palmer.  I have watched his stuff so often (and has Tobsters) that I was totally convinced he must know me… duh.. real fan girl here Embarrassed smile


It didn’t start off that promising, but I also recognised his brushes (they are in all our art kits – indispensible when it comes to portraying Devon) so at least that was two familiar things.. Seriously though, it was a fantastic morning which flew past.  Probably because I struggled with even the basics like clean water. 

I have spent so long just doing my own thing, I really struggle when I try to follow instructions. 


I managed to produce a very passable “derivative work” Winking smile when I stopped being totally awestruck by this famous geezer – well he is in the corner of my living room, on the computer - everywhere !!!

When I was telling Toby about this, this evening,we concluded that painting isn’t about the picture, it is about the memories which surround the actual action of painting the picture – that is why it is better to paint and photograph, rather than just photograph.  Very profound oh great one….

So I guess what I am trying to say is that immersing myself in the practicalities and possibilities of colour and brushes today, I eventually felt that I was starting to recover my sense of colour and play.

The afternoon, I wasn’t sure about, but the guy – Jeremy Ford – a total nobody (duh… how wrong could I be Confused smile) and looking at his sales table, I was back at Art College in the last century.  The School of Colour mixing palette (one of which I still have hanging around here) and various swatch mixing books left a rather sad sinking feeling.  All the pre-mixed colour of the morning meant things sped along really fast… now I was going to have to work. 

But boy was it worth it.   I now remember why I loved art school so much – it wasn’t the achieving it was the learning.  The ability to make mistakes, learn from them and try something else, and be forgiven and excused because that is what Students and humans do.  Earning a living from my art or craft – the expectation is perfection, not humanity. 

The Tutor was excellent, he stripped back all the instructions – total absence of all the hitech teaching aids and my brain had to work again.  So what I needed and wished I could spend a week covering all the basics.  I had real “binder” envy – the paintings he had done (around the time that I was scribbling on scrap paper pretending to be an “artist” – all bound in books with beautiful gilt detailing …




and this was MY finished picture (sorry the mount had a wrapping on which reflected).  Not only did I have people and snow… I also had trees, created with brushes that could do other things like footprints and houses….

Fantastic.  HIs explanations were so clever.   My picture, whilst not actually looking like his – was all of my own… my own world out of my own head. 

And the best bit – so many of the source pictures and examples were from the Lake District.  I feel positively homesick and the longing inside me to be back there is intense.  Perhaps this is where my heart lives? 

Whilst I work on that conundrum, best stick to the painting – that is achievable, and my heart finds that a suitable compromise. 

If you get a chance to go on one of these guys courses, and even if you are a total and complete beginner, I would really recommend it.  If I had gone a few years back, I would have saved myself a fortune in brushes and materials – so the course really does pay for itself. 

If you can’t get there because of the locations (but there are some held in Cheddar as well as Bristol) – try going onto the website and having access to the videos.  They are as clear as Matthew Palmer’s actual courses, and give you the space and time to work on things.   I promise you I am not on any kickback or sponsorship. 

I just want to share my epiphany and newly found joy with you…

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