dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

What’s your line?

on November 28, 2013

My Mum painted. Watercolours (as well as all the house-decorating). She was really rather good at it and I can remember her settled with her paints in various locations on holiday. Maybe that’s why I always thought I should paint. What I really do is sketch – in ink – and then, well not to put too fine a point on it, colour it in.

So I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it properly. How to sit down with a clean piece of paper and draw with the brush, with the splashes of colour and thin washes that magically become recognisable pictures. Without the lines!

I have a friend, Dawn Pretty, who is a superb artist – of fine portraits as well as landscapes.

Three examples of Dawn's work

Three examples of Dawn’s work

She runs classes and I’ve been thinking about taking myself to one for absolutely ages. And yesterday I did. Finally! We had a lovely day at the Bell Inn, Walberswick, and Dawn taught various techniques, provided all the materials

Digital Image

and between coffee and cake, a delicious lunch, and more tea and cake, we each produced two pieces of work.

My two are the two worst

My two are the two worst

Dawn is kind and encouraging. But frankly she was onto a loser with me! I simply could not master the techniques or find the manual dexterity to produce the effects she indicated.

I came home a little sad – being bottom of the class is never a pleasant experience! But on reflection, I found it a very worthwhile day.

I’ve learned that my medium is the written/printed word.That’s what I do and can do.

I’ve been practising my craft since I first learnt to write – long before joined-up writing!

I’ve been trained to write and edit non-fiction and fiction.

And I’ve learnt not to be precious about it.

But more important, I’ve learned what’s not my game: painting! And even better, I’m content to have tried and found out, so I can now settle back down to what I can do.

And in fact, today, I got back to the novel and have got to page 267 in the final (maybe!) revision.

Maybe knowing what we can’t do – and shouldn’t be wasting our time and energy on – is as important as knowing what we should be doing!

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