I miss Art. I miss giant studios full of light and noise and colour and ideas and creativity and tears and joy and discovery. I miss screen prints, dark rooms, light boxes, sewing machines, charcoals, life drawing, sculpting and sketching.
The day I got my first little set of watercolours, aged 10, I was hooked. Maybe it’s the same feeling some people get from performing, or sports or watching videos of cats, all I knew was it made me happy. I remember looking at the first blank page, a ‘proper’ watercolour sketch book all bumpy and stiff, being scared to make a mark in fear of ruining it. Not knowing where to start I decided a still life would be as good a place as any given that was what a real artist would probably draw.
I didn’t have a silver bowl laden with exotic fruits to hand so I had to make do with the nearest thing….
a potato. Yes, my first subject on the road to becoming the next Francis Bacon was indeed the humble spud. It wasn’t a bad effort if I do say so myself, I showed it off pleased as punch, or poitín if you will. It was hard to read my Mother’s reaction, I’m pretty sure she was smiling with pride rather than amusement. Either way it made her happy too. I don’t remember anything else I drew in that sketchbook but I remember every detail of that spud.
By the time I was 17 and at art college I had swapped A6 sketch books for walls covered in metres of paper and replaced my tiny paintbrush with paint rollers. The little brown spud may have been replaced with giant pink abstract flowers but the feeling was always the same – happiness.
These days the only works of art on display are those that come home in school bags. I’m not complaining, I’ll happily hang these on the kitchen wall in all their splodgy, glittery gorgeousness.
Now though, I want some of that splodgy, glittery goodness for myself. Truthfully I’ve wanted to get back to it for ages but I’ve been too scared. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be creative, scared to make a mark in case I ruin the page. I’m excited though, I have so many ideas I want to try out and eventually (hopefully!) I’ll find my inner creative again. In the meantime I’m going to have fun along the way.
A few weeks ago I signed up for an inks class with a local artist at Reasons To Be Cheerful , a beautiful little ceramics studio and toy shop in Leighton Buzzard. I knew I had to commit to something if I was going to get anywhere and despite my hands shaking for most of the class it felt so good to hold a paintbrush again and the end result wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. If you live in the Bedfordshire area and want to try your hand at something creative then this is the place to go, (click on the link above, you’ll see all the upcoming events on offer and there are lots to choose from!)
Since then I’ve been teaching myself to lino cut – something completely new to me. I’ve joined a 30 Day Drawing Challenge which prompts me to use a particular theme for inspiration everyday, even if it has to be a quick 5 minute sketch.
Last night I played around with acrylics and experimented with colour combinations with another local artist and designer, Ruth McAuliffe from Poppet & Doodle . The beautiful folk art design is Ruth’s so I can take no credit for that but I’m really pleased with the end result and the colours work perfectly in Flumps room!
I’d say the creative juices are tentatively trickling at this point. I’m excited to be experimenting with different styles, building confidence and overcoming my fear of the dreaded blank page all over again.