Whilst the weather in the UK this winter has been more than a little wet, it has enabled me to indulge in one of my more recent hobbies; that of painting. Recent, because I only found my muse some 6 years ago whilst at a writing “holiday” where, finding my tutor was a stand-in and a person I wasn’t fond of, I opted to do the painting class put on for accompanying partners. I had dabbled in watercolours (dabbled being the operative word here) since school but was never any good. On this course the tutor allowed me to try all mediums until I found the one that was meant for me: acrylics. That first stroke of the brush and I was away! So I do hope you’ll forgive me this little indulgence.
The first real success came when a lady in Germany saw one of my bluebell paintings (my first serious work) on my website and persuaded me to sell it to her. I was reluctant to let it go, it being my first baby, but I did, turning me into, as someone pointed out, an “international selling artist”. Wow, what accolade! She went on to purchase two more bluebell paintings and is now considering buying another. Since then, my work has sold in Spain, America and Canada, as well as in the UK, with several donated as prizes in various raffles and fund-raising events. And, of course, most of my family now own a painting or two, which is rather nice. And, surprisingly, I have sold two paintings already this year – a fabulous bonus!
It’s a most relaxing hobby although at times can be exceedingly frustrating when something doesn’t work out how I intended or I can’t get something quite right. My husband is very much my top critic although he does have a habit of pointing out where something is not right long before I’ve even finished it! And not all I do is good; there have been many failures, ones I wouldn’t dream of showing to anyone, but one of the joy of acrylics is that you can paint over a canvas time and time again.
Since taking up this hobby, I find I see the world differently. I notice the seasons more, observing shade and light, even the sky and clouds with increased intensity, as well as appreciating colours and the effect of shadows and the movement of water and the reflections it creates. Most of my work is of landscapes, real and imagined, often from photographs, or photos giving the inspiration, the starting point. This is needed as, like writing, one can be faced with a blank canvas and not have a clue where to begin, let alone know what to actually paint.
One great help in this score is belonging to an online art group whose leaders set a challenge each month for us to tackle, often being out of my comfort zone, ie portraits or people or animals – none of which I am good at because I cannot draw; all my work is freehand. This month’s topic is “what Spring means to you” so this has given me a wonderful opportunity to try my hand at a vase of spring flowers. For the first time, I’ve painted a “draft” on paper so I have something to follow although the final painting, I hope, will be far better.
Wish me luck!