After a much long-awaited time, the art club I attend (the SAA Frome Valley Art Group) finally re-opened its doors last Friday afternoon and evening. As a matter of safety, COVID rules where adhered to and we were assigned “bubbles” to work in. We are only a small group of 12, compared with our fellow members who meet Friday afternoons (30), so we were able to spread ourselves out around what is a large hall, with a work-table each. Plenty of room to spread our equipment out.
It felt strange and a little surreal arriving at the venue, masks on as we registered and elected a table, fetched our own chair and unpacked. But as everyone arrived and masks were removed, it didn’t take long before we settled, reacquainted ourselves and chatted about what we had or hadn’t painted during the long absence. When everyone said they had, like me, not painted a great deal during lockdown, often not having the inclination, I felt relieved I wasn’t the only person who hadn’t done much. Okay, I have painted what: six? maybe seven? paintings in the previous 14 months. That is not a lot for me, I am normally prolific; a painting a week, if not each month in normal times.
Until all restrictions are lifted, the kitchen is out of bounds which meant we could not stop for refreshments and a natter around the coffee table. Nor were we able to obtain water for paints and washing brushes so had to bring our own. Being an acrylic artist, this caused a dilemma for me as I could not leave my brushes unwashed until I returned back home. The paint on them would have dried by then and virtually impossible to remove; brushes would be ruined. Having a selection of watercolour pencils which I have not used and water-brushes (the water is contained in the brush itself, a little like a fountain pen), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice with them.
Now, I’d be the first to admit I am not very good at drawing and sketching, something that is necessary for watercolour painting, and the image I chose from a photo of wallflowers picked the day before from my garden was, with hindsight, a little too ambitious even for me. I was also pleased I used my “practice” sketchbook and not wasted expensive watercolour paper in learning how to paint with watercolour pencils. Plus the paper in the sketchbook is very smooth and didn’t take the pencil well. Still, all good practice, as they say. Here’s what I produced in the allotted time.
As it will be a few more weeks yet before we have full use of the venue and access to water etc, I shall continue with the pencils, but next week, start with a lot simpler image and on the correct paper for the medium. You know me, I love a challenge.