Yesterday my husband and I went to the delightful town of Rochester, even more delightful for the fact that its about five miles away from where we live! I love the feel of Rochester, the ancient castle overlooking the town, the Dickensian connections, the independent shops and cafes and the feeling of being its own character.
The last time we were there was for the Dickens Christmas festival in early December and we knew at the time that we wanted to go back again to explore it properly when there were far less people and in daylight!
This visit was memorable for me because I was able to look particularly at the art gallery there which is a refreshingly independent one and had some very inspiring artwork particularly some gorgeous ones by some Russian artists. It helped me a lot to look at the quality of the work, the prices, and the feel of the place for visitors.
After we left there we wandered across the road to their accompanying art and craft shop. Which I must admit astounded me..!!! It was FULL of quality art supplies, paints, pencils, brushes, canvas’s, art paper, craft supplies, wool. and the sort of shop that I could have happily bought everything in it!! (Well except for the wool, I don’t knit! Even though my Mum tried her best to get me started on that particular talent) Artist heaven!!
But whilst I was standing by the brushes I overheard an elderly woman say to her friend that it was a lot of money for a paintbrush – £46 – but then if she was a professional artist maybe she could understand it, but she used to be able to paint, and now she couldn’t, she’d lost her ability. I was standing right by her at that point, and took the chance to speak to her even though she wasn’t speaking to me, and said that it was a lot of money for a brush,but it could improve your art if you used one like that, I was a professional artist and knew that sometimes you’ve got to just keep painting… She said “Help ME!” so forcefully as she looked me in the eye, that I instantly said to her that I know what its like when you paint, that life and things get in the way, you’ve got to carry on painting,and do something you like doing, and copy a picture you like from a magazine, or a book, or a birthday card, and copy it the best you can, and look at the tones and pick up the five tones from deepest dark to the lightest white and all of them in between and keep at it and your art will come back, if you’ve done it once, you will do it again! She thanked me, and I gave her my business card, and one to her friend too as they were leaving the shop then, but as they walked through the door I overheard her say to her friend “I feel so powered up now! I want to get going with my art again!” and it made me smile because if i had inspired her, then that is what art is about! I had helped her, and it had helped me too to know that people do get stuck in their art, I am finding my artistic life again after moving and putting it on hold. We all do it. Its a call from the heart to answer it!