I started a painting class this week run by the Art Hub LDN. I wasn’t sure what to expect as even though I am musical, I don’t really see myself as an artist, so I went to the class with the main aim of relaxing, taking that time out that I need to ground myself and dive into increasing my creativity. And of course bringing more joy into my day and starting a new creative habit on a Wednesday morning.
Now the kids are back at school, it gives me time to reassess things and work out how to prioritise tasks during the course of the day. It is tough as there is still a lot of “life admin” and household chores, and it is a challenge to reduce the amount of time and energy they get to consume. However, this year, my two kids are now getting the school coach every morning, so I have some more time and energy on my hands in the morning, which is an added bonus after a long summer!
Change is inevitable whilst I look for more balance, as I embrace this somehow, I have to test the water, seeing what works well and fits into my routine to give me what I need and some more fulfilment….
Anyway, one of the exercises I set out to do in my art class was to paint a repeated pattern in watercolours. It could be a letter, a shape, any kind of squiggle I liked, but I had to paint it over and over again in “cold colours” which basically cover all the darker, deeper colours, blues, purples, greens, or else “warm colours” which cover all the yellows, oranges, reds etc, all those bright colours that normally fill me up with sunshine.
Not sure why, but because I was new, I just started with the darker, “cold” colours, and then as the painting progressed, I realised I should have started with the “warm” colours but there was nothing I could do about it. The painting was darker than I wanted it by the end of the first exercise. Already I was judging myself!
So off I went on a mission to add some speckles of light using some “warm” colours to my picture to make me feel happier about what I was doing. Once that had dried properly, I then went on to use Sharpies over the picture I had painted. I was just following instructions and guidance… I didn’t know what I was going to do with the Sharpie pens but I started drawing hearts in silver as this is a shape I like drawing, my “go-to” shape when I do art. I liked the silver as it was a light colour that stood out nicely amongst all the dark colours, so I drew different sized hearts across the page, which turned into heart balloons.
I then got out my yellow pen and filled in the white bits round the edges and inside the picture to fill it up with specs of sunshine wherever I could. Then I got stuck… It was suggested to me that I experiment with a black Sharpie, which I resisted for a few minutes, as I didn’t want it to ruin what I’d painted and already thought my painting was on the darker side.
Anyway, I started out using a navy pen, as navy is softer than black and would ease me into black later on. I started by drawing in navy the shapes I could see on the painting, and really surprised myself. I loved this activity, because as I progressed through this task, as I drew shapes, I began to see more and more shapes – it was fascinating, and before I knew it, my 2 hours of art time was up, but I still had more to do as the painting wasn’t finished.
Being the perfectionist I am, I had to finish it when I got home otherwise the momentum would get lost and I might not finish it. I didn’t like that thought of leaving things unfinished. So I was brave and chose a black Sharpie pen at home in the end and continued drawing shapes to cover the whole picture.
It’s amazing how lost I got, in a positive way of course, just finding and drawing shapes within what was essentially a simple watercolour painting. It was all very unexpected and a very calming experience. An hour later, I finished it, and felt better about it all – task accomplished!