Friday 17th April
4.00pm (BST) midnight (HKT), 8.00am (PDT)
It’s late afternoon for me, midnight in Hong Kong and eight in the morning in Seattle. I am to do a sound check with Rob Sketcherman (Hong Kong), Rita Sabler (Seattle) and others to make sure all is good for our Urban Sketchers Live talk tomorrow. Rob, Rita and the other tech-savvy people are all calm and competent. I am instructed to make a “fake” instagram account to do the test. I call it “Fake News” but I change it afterwards, as I feel it will look like I’m a bot. Santi Sallés from Barcelona is also having a dry run, and while it’s his turn I sketch the set-up on my desk. The drawing I did of my phone is lacking in accuracy: I have a normal-shaped phone, not a very long skinny one. In the sketch it is in my overhead tripod. I can’t remember the name of the company I bought it from but it’s been really useful – I couldn’t do my Zoom classes without an overhead camera. Really sturdy build quality, too.
It is a special experience to be with my fellow sketchers. I know them from symposia in Porto and Amsterdam, but we always seem to pass briefly and I have never had a chance to get to know them. You can’t get to know everyone in a symposium, so it feels great to chat with them now. They are relaxed and funny and they make me feel like I can be myself. We have a few glitches – at one point I produce ear-splitting feedback due to having Google Party and Instagram Live on at the same time – but it’s deemed a success in the end, and we each melt into our respective time zones.
Paddy (18) cooks dinner on Fridays now. This was my cunning plan so that I would not come out of the Lockdown entirely empty-handed. No no no. Now and forevermore Liv (15) cooks on Thursday, Paddy on Friday, Marcel on Saturday and Honor (20) hasn’t quite gotten around to agreeing to anything. This is Honor who did the washing-up a week ago and said “Which one is the hot tap Mum?” to which I replied “You what mate?” to which she replied “Just tell me which one it is!” – yes that Honor. Anyway, Paddy had discovered that he loves cooking. Tonight’s meal is to be a surprise. He has kneaded dough like a loony last night, and left it to prove overnight. He won’t tell us what it is going to be, despite our guesses. In the end he has all his ingredients out and I tell him I am going to sketch him. He says I have about five minutes. I say my sketching stuff is at the bottom of the garden in my studio. He says that’s tough. So I go as fast as I can. I like what I do, even though Paddy ends up with two arms and everything on the wrong level. Into a very hot oven go the results of his prep and fifteen minutes later out comes New York-Style Pan Pizza. It is delicious and very Friday-night-y. The letter stamping happens the next morning.
I hop into bed and chat on the phone with a lovely friend. She is a sometime student of mine. It is a luxury to chat about the sketching world and its populace that we both inhabit. It’s bliss: she will talk in as much interested and intimate detail as I about line work vs. direct paint, about teaching styles, breakthrough moments and individual styles and approaches. This is the best possible way to take my mind off sad coronavirus stuff on Twitter, and the fact that my sourdough starter is being an attention-seeking little diva and is in a proper sulk just because I didn’t feed it today…
Someone needs to tell it that it’ll get fed tomorrow – Mummy’s not going anywhere.