Elephant in the Room
I’m still here. It’s February – admittedly a warm one – but I’m in the studio and on my boat, not sipping cocktails in mid Atlantic or huddled on the floor of the ladies being seasick when I should be teaching the finer points of watercolour techniques. I could have gone to sea of course, but there are several reasons for staying at home this winter.
Firstly, I’m having some work done on the interior of my own little ship. After six years of managing with a temporary galley (kitchen for the landlubbers), it was time for a new one to be built. I moved out while my living space filled with tools and made helpful cups of coffee when the curses from the cabin got louder (‘there’s not a single straight line or right angle on this boat!’). I’ve spent the last six weeks staying on friends’ boats or occasionally houses, moving from one to the other as they obligingly went away and were happy for me to take over. One barge, belonging to an artist friend and her husband, was spectacularly comfortable (and large – the bathroom was almost as big as my living space). It had proper central heating controlled, along with the lights, by a little black box called Alexa (who got very confused when my Dutch friends came to stay; she just couldn’t cope with the accent). It’s been interesting, borrowing other people’s lives briefly, but my own life was getting as muddled as my belongings – I spent far too much time rummaging amongst bags in the back of the car for a pair of clean trousers or my laptop charger. There is still work to be done at home but the end is in sight and it’s good to be back in my own funny little world again. My heartfelt thanks to all who were generous enough to trust me with their homes!
Another reason for staying home this winter is a rather large project – the size of a small elephant in fact.
This is Elmer and he arrived in my studio in January; by the time he leaves in March he will be covered with colour and ready to join Elmers Big Parade in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice. (www.elmersbigparadesuffolk.co.uk) By summer, fifty colourful Elmers will be on display around Ipswich. All the designs are secret at the moment, though the postman keeps popping in (‘no post today, just thought I’d see how the elephant is coming along….’ ) Mine is being sponsored by the lovely people at Neptune Marina, so it will have a watery theme of course.
It’s a challenging project – I’m not used to painting with acrylics and working on a three dimensional object is not easy. There are many more studio hours to go before he’s done! Available time is getting squeezed now that my art classes have begun and there are several workshop dates coming up. Everything is fully booked at the moment but there are a few spaces left for a day sketching and painting Pin Mill on 23rd March – and you can always book some one to one time or share a couple of hours’ private tuition with a friend.
I’m off to visit several art clubs during the next few months too. So many local villages have vibrant art groups in their community centre who meet every week and book tutors from time to time to give them fresh inspiration (only folks who live in cities think that nothing goes on in the countryside!) Today I will be in Hacheston Village Hall wittering on about how to get the best out of painting from photos……
There’s plenty more going on, but that’s enough for now – Thank you all for your encouragement and support, let’s keep on keeping on!