Earlier on this week I rang the woman who used to come to me for private weekly art classes when I lived in Leicestershire. I’m not sure exactly how old she is, but I guess early 70’s. She had always wanted to paint and draw and when she saw my advert in the local garden centre she contacted me and came every week, near enough except for holidays and Christmas time, for her art class. I was always flexible, in that if she couldn’t make it on a Wednesday I didn’t mind if it was any other day in the week. I left it to her to choose the subject, and also the medium and loved the fact that she was more than happy to tackle drawing, oil painting, acrylic painting, watercolours, pastels, semi fantasy pictures, figure drawing, landscapes, or seacapes. I was also happy to frame her pictures for her from frames I had in stock, which saved her having to go and find a framer, and I always gave her a good price, within her budget. I think she came to me for about five years. We had a good relationship of artist and pupil.
(Please note ALL the artwork here is her artwork, not mine, but it was done with my tuition)
So it was with great sadness that I informed her in April that I had some good news, some bad news, some good news, and some bad news for her….. She looked at me in puzzlement until I explained that Steve and I had found a new house to buy (good news!) but that it was in Kent, and that I would be leaving the area (bad news!) but was more than happy to continue her art classes if she was to visit Kent, and I knew as I said it that I doubted if she would. But, I did have a lot of contacts I could give her that would easily be able to help her with her art (good news!) but, and I knew that as I said this that it would sound big headed, but I know my standard, and I know other artists standards and abilities that none of them would be as good as me, and as knowledgeable as me with subject matter and medium. I know some of them only do watercolours, or acrylics, or landscapes, or figures, but not ALL of them, like I do. Equally profficient with all.
I wrote down a list of local artist names and contact details, I went through them all with her explaining where they lived and what their characters were like. and how each could help her. I wrote a list of all the proceedures to go through when doing any piece of artwork, how to look at the focal point, and work out a composition, and line and tone and colour. I gave her as much information as I could.
And on the last time I saw her, which was the middle of May, as we were moving down to Kent on the 29th May, she gave me a bottle of wine and card for the new house, and I gave her a card thanking her for all the hours of making art we had had together. She had my new address, and did I have her address, I knew we would stay in touch via Christmas cards..
And then the following weeks were a blur for me, moving to Kent, going to France on holiday twice that summer whilst doing jobs on the house and garden before the winter wet weather set in.
And then we got to Christmas and her card arrived with the others, explaining why she hadn’t done any artwork, other than a smallish piece for her grand-daughter. Now, I appreciated that her brother in law had died, and that had had an impact on her and her family. And I fully appreciated that she had had an eye operation, that meant that she couldn’t focus on anything properly. And I appreciated that she had another eye operation booked for a few weeks for the other eye and until that was done she wasn’t going to be able to contact any of the people I had suggested.
And that was why I rang her this week. I was fully aware that over seven months had passed since she had had an art class with me. And she has kept putting off contacting people. She has not done any proper artwork. She has not even done any drawing. She has not even sat and copied a favourite birthday card as I suggested, to keep her artist eye in practice.
She knows she needs to do it, I know she needs to do it. And I also know that I need to do it too!! Because when I was teaching her art each week it made me work out the logistics of how to tackle pieces of art that I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen to do on my own, but I knew the proceedure for doing those pieces of art, the thinking aspect that created the doing part.
So, I have been as helpful as I can helping her continue with her art. But, its up to her now. I can’t do anymore.
Because I know, because I have seen it in so many other people over the years that doing artwork is one of the most difficult things to carry on with, any excuse to not do it (the phone rings, the washing machine needs servicing, friends call around, family want to go out, you’ve got a cold, you’re going on holiday, the dogs sick) all mean that doing art gets shelved. It has to be done at least weekly, ideally daily to keep the art eye trained.
I am showing here a selection of the artwork she did with my tuition, so you can see how good she was at art and what diverse subjects she would tackle.