If you ask my primary or even secondary school art teachers whether artistic talent runs in the family, then the answer is a firm no. I should probably say for those readers that don’t know, my mother is a professional artist and in her opinion I have always showed some promise but then when does a mother, who is usually your greatest fan ever say you can’t do something? Actually mine has. She made it quite clear from an early age (as did many others) that I couldn’t sing (I still mime when singing hymns at church weddings), dance (does swaying side to side count as a dance move?) or play a musical instrument (the flute saga when I was nine is one that will go down in family history), so maybe, just maybe there is a hidden talent.
It has taken me 33 years and two children later to decide to explore whether any talent exists and perhaps my desire to find out was more driven by my need to have some ‘me time’ and escape the Stay-at-home-Mum tag but whatever the reason, the ‘Living Social’ deal for a 5 hour art workshop popped into my inbox and I booked it.
I was relieved to discover that I could paint whatever I wanted to. I was never one to create something brilliant from a bowl of fruit and I’m not sure how I would fair with a nude model, even if it were David Beckham or George Clooney. So armed with my photograph of Half Dome at Yosemite (dating back to my 2007 road trip we took with my brother and his girlfriend) and my roll of paper towel (this is the equivalent of taking an apple in for your favourite teacher at art class, in that you automatically score bonus points for not using more of her supplies!), I embarked on my little adventure.
First step was to find the studio. I was assured there would be a balloon outside to point me in the right direction but hey this wasn’t a children’s birthday party and there was no balloon. I got the right building but there was clearly no health and safety assessment carried out in this house. I proceeded to open the wrong door and almost tripped down a flight of stairs into the basement. Thankfully nobody noticed my error and I entered the studio (cue picture).
The art teacher began by saying ‘anyone can paint and at the end of 5 hours you will have something brilliant’. Those that know me well, will know that I’m not the world’s greatest optimist so approached this task with my usually degree of pessimistic optimism in the hope that maybe I would produce something brilliant but wouldn’t be too disappointed if I didn’t. It turns out I haven’t changed that much since my student/work days – I still ask a ridiculous amount of questions acting as a thorn in the side of many a great teacher/manager. This teacher certainly nailed my character from the start and within about half an hour was encouraging me to throw caution to the wind and just paint. Three hours in and I had untensed my shoulders a little – afterall this was supposed to be fun. After 5 hours I could hardly call myself an expert but I am now familiar with blending and stippling as two techniques that I can use when painting with acrylics and I now know why ‘magic’ water, a hair dryer and masking tape are essential tools in the toolbox of an acrylic artist.
I’m not sure exactly what Andy was expecting when I got home and he isn’t one for dishing out the compliments in a situation like this but his first words were ‘wow, did you just stick the picture on the canvas?’. It has to be said I’m pretty chuffed with my achievement and much like when I first got my engagement ring on my finger, I spent the next few hours just looking at my painting and admiring it.
You may have noticed that the final artwork is missing from this post but I thought I would be a little cheeky! Part of my reason for writing this blog is to raise some money for BIBS so when I have got to £75 in donations, I’ll add a new post with the final painting! Here’s the link if you’d like to donate to this worthy cause – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy