Colour, connections and creativity

‘It’s all gone online now my dear, as you’re over there and I’m here

We can chat in a forum with utmost decorum, but never meet up for a beer….’

Here we all are, still in hibernation eagerly waiting for the lengthening days and the freedom to do simple things like visit a friend – soon, we hope.

I’m lucky to have plenty to keep me busy, mainly adjusting my way of working our new circumstances. Initially I resisted the siren call of virtual art lessons, but having now done a few I’m a convert. My watercolour workshops on zoom at the weekend went well and made me realise how much we have in common around the world – I had students from Canada, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and the UK amongst my 16 students, all with a desire to spend some soul-nourishing time exploring the creative world within our minds whilst the outer world is closed to us.

So far I’ve been doing my zooming at Art Safari’s studio in Woodbridge which is all set up with the cameras, but I’m gradually getting equipped in my own studio so I can teach from here. There are plenty of workshops and virtual holidays lined up (, both with me and all the other tutors – something for everyone. To try out my own studio webcams I’m inviting you to come along to my first studio zoom on 1st March at 4pm, so that I can make sure everything works – and to see a few friendly faces!

If you want to gain some watercolour confidence, I’ll show you how colourful play will enable you to practise basic watercolour techniques, make the paints flow and create some cheerful mini-paintings to brighten up the winter.

If you’d like to join me for this fun and free session, get in touch via email or the contact page and I’ll send you the link along with instructions on what to have with you. Or just come along and watch! This is also for those of you who missed this one when I did it with Mary-Anne Bartlett at the end of January. Here’s your chance to see the kind of things we were getting up to!

I’ve also been doing quite a few talks online, mainly about the joys and challenges of sketching at sea, and it’s good to see a few familiar faces on the screen. The next one is coming up on Monday evening – and this one is a youtube/facebook livestream hosted by a lovely website called Home Stage which has various free online clubs, events and groups to help people to stay connected. So you don’t have to join on zoom, just click on the link and watch me learning yet more new skills – being interviewed live online. No pressure – I’m only a teeny bit nervous, honest.

Here’s the link to Home Stage website if you’d like to find out more about their online activities –

Although I’m not now heading off to Antarctica until later in the year, I’ve been getting involved in an arts project currently being put together by the Scott Polar Research Institute. It’s an online arts festival, with a feast of demonstrations, interviews and fascinating content. I’ll be there chatting about sketching on the move, showing a few penguin sketches.

Have a penguin or two!

Although we’re longing to meet up again in person, I’m beginning more and more to see the potential of the online community. I’ve met so many people from all over the country and all over the world through art and music meetings. I’ve met plenty of new ‘real’ people this year too, thanks to the river. It’s an unexpected bonus living by a slipway where, during the summer, a whole community of local kayakers has sprung up, many of whom are now friends as well as socially distanced friendly river users. Living afloat has proved to have more advantages that ever before – though the recent cold weather has proved challenging. I managed to keep warm but had a battle with the local rats who kept finding their way into my boat and raided my cupboard. I have all their routes blocked up now – I hope!

snowy decks and ice floes crunching under my stern
View from my window last week – Sutton Hoo shorelline

I’ve a busy few weeks of online lessons coming up, but I hope to make time to get out on the river with my sketchbook as a necessary antidote to too much screen time.

That’s it for now – stay positive and stay creative – there is so much out there to keep our minds and hands busy!

Knotwork online workshop inspired by Sutton Hoo and ‘the Dig’
– more to follow!

4 thoughts on “Colour, connections and creativity”

  1. Rachel says:

    Hallo Claudia, just watched your FB talk – wow! Lovely presentation and so inspiring. I used to love messing around on the water but my wrists are shot now – at least I can pick up a paintbrush still. I would be keen to join the watercolour talk on March 1st if possible? I’m very rusty – just started art again after many years away from it. I noticed you had done a Sutton Hoo session which as an archaeologist and artist I would have loved to attend. Is it available as a recording, please?
    Thank you for sharing your skills and outlook today and via the blog. Your comments on feeling the fear and doing it anyway really resonate with me. Best wishes, Rachel

  2. Nicola says:

    I so enjoyed your talk this evening, and seeing your work. . Sketchbooks have so much life in them.
    I would like to join you on 1stMarch.

  3. Claudia says:

    Nicola, apologies, I don’t think I sent you an email for the workshop did I? So sorry, I’m about to schedule another so will make sure you get the link next time! Apologies. c

  4. Claudia says:

    Rachel – again, apologies, did I send you a link to the last zoom session? It all got a bit hectic and I still keep finding bits of paper on my desk with emails on! I’m thinking of doing a repeat of the Sutton Hoo treasures workshop so I’ll keep you posted – I’d appreciate your views on it as an archaeologist (have you tried drawing the patterns?)

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