Freedom February

Mid February, and it’s beginning to feel a lot like freedom here in merry England. The majority of Covid restrictions have been lifted, the remainder set to be removed next week, ie mask-wearing on public transport and in shops. There is a relaxed atmosphere creeping back in and my diary is slowing but surely filling up again.

February has so far been far busier for me than anticipated, a whirlwind two weeks that seems set to continue. It started with a portrait painting demo by a visiting professional artist at my art club, followed by him giving an all-day workshop a week later. The majority of us were disappointed in what he presented, the 2 hour-demo more talking than painting, and his workshop for various reasons was cancelled. As the club had already booked and paid for the room hire, the club secretary asked if I would step in and run an acrylic workshop instead, to which I agreed.

Not having run an all-day course before and at such short notice, I had little prepared, no notes or handouts ready, nor any idea what subject matter to cover (nothing like diving in at the deep end!). As I don’t paint people or portraits, and not knowing the capabilities or skills of most of the attendees, I asked them what they would like me to do. Trees or a woodland scene or bluebells or snowdrops came several replies. Sorted! Confident and comfortable with bluebells woods, I quickly painted this lttle scene to use. I would demonstrate a section, they paint it, I do another part, they paint it etc – you get the gist.

“Blooming Bluebells”

Despite my inadequacies painting whilst standing at an easel with 14 pairs of enthusiastic and eager-to-learn eyes watching every move, I managed to enjoy the day, as did they. The workshop was fun and lively, exhausting but worth it, and some good work produced. Even I learned a few things. When we’d finished everyone asked if I were doing any more workshops, all ending with a heart-pleading “please”. I’d obviously got something right. And thus, the next workshop has already been booked for late March, with all my attendees saying yes within a few hours of my notifying them of the date (except one who will be on holiday).

And what did I learn? That, during the lead-up to the next workshop I need to be totally prepared and organized and, more to the point, practice painting stood at the easel, something I am not used, I always sit when painting. I also discovered I enjoy teaching it, and like painting, never knew I had it in me until now. It comes down to confidence, something I never had even as a child. But unless I’m careful, the art could easily take over my life. I must pace and organize myself in order that my writing, my real passion, doesn’t get left on the shelf. I have a novel to get out, others to write, so have planned my schedule: Work on my novel early mornings (I’m usually up at 5am) until 7-ish. Breakfast, housework etc until 10:30, 11am latest. More writing until lunch. Afternoons devoted to art (and the occasional nap) plus work on the website I’m creating for the art group. Evenings: back to the novel, sprints more important than ever! So far, I am keeping to that regime, then again it has only been 3 days.

I mentioned my March diary filling up: Several medical appointments; meeting friends for coffee one morning; hairdresser appointment; kitchen hunting–yes we are back on that trail as was put on hold because of you-know-what; garden needing attention, which also means several garden centre visits; the workshop to run; a girlie weekend celebrating mother’s 96th birthday. And, hopefully, one or two long lunches with writing friends I have so missed to pencil in.

Yes, life in Blighty is slowly but surely and with care returning to normal. Thank goodness.

6 responses to “Freedom February

  1. A great post and full of optimism. Enjoy everything you are doing. Hugs P x

  2. Oh, yay! You’ve made me sooooo hopeful with this post. It’s full of joy. I LOVE that you have found a way to help others expand their art knowledge and painting skills. Since I love your paintings, I think you’d be an excellent teacher. I’m so glad your workshop was well received. And happy, happy early birthday to your mother! Enjoy that full calendar. We are working toward relieving mask mandates here, but I will probably edge into that touch of normal very slowly.

  3. Oh wow Kit. Wonderful life. And I’m not a bit surprised that you are a natural teacher. Like Laurie your post gives me hope for the future.

  4. Yes, we’re slowly getting back to a new normal here in Blighty, eh Kit? And your diary is certainly filling up fast.
    Huge congrats on the success of your painting workshops. The photo of the attendees shows everyone hard at work!
    I can imagine how difficult it must have been not only painting standing up but while students watch you – a double whammy! But you cracked it!
    One of these days I’m going to sign up for a workshop with you…just be gentle with this total beginner 🙂

  5. Happy freedom in UK month in Feb! And way to go on stepping up to take that seminar on and teaching about your love of painting- a great talent and that you’re willing to share your knowledge is awesome. I love your work and your enthusiasm. I am sure the participants enjoyed their time with you. Jillian

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