Let It All Go

Every Tuesday and Thursday I go to a small country town in Galway where my daughter does Taekwon-Do. There’s not a huge amount to do there. I can go to Lidl or Aldi, and usually do, but I have to watch those weekly specials. Now that it’s summer, there’s enough light in the evening to sketch, so there’s always something to do to amuse myself.

Last night was one of those nights. I thought I’d go to the woods just outside the town and get some inspiration, as I was thinking it would be nice to make a collection of nature or country sketches from this very beautiful time of year. I walked deep into the woods and along the quiet, narrow road that leads to the car park. To either side trees soared loftily above me, their small fresh green leaves filtering the evening light, slim dark trunks straight and silhouetted. Birds bade each other goodnight, or threatened each other with birdish threats; walkers strode along purposefully, and no one greeted each other. It was peaceful, but eerie, and uninspiring. I stopped, turned about and left.

Back in the town, I found a derelict shop I liked the look of. I had recently plundered my paint box to make another, which I had of course forgotten to bring, so I painted with whatever colours I had. It felt freeing. My letter stamp set was in my bag, however, and I do love letter stamps. I used it to do the writing on the shop and felt disproportionately pleased.

At last I picked up my daughter, sweeping great piles of sketching stuff off the passenger seat. I was low because of an unfortunate episode at work, and my beautiful daughter played Disney anthems from her phone on the speaker at loud at it would go, balancing it on the dashboard and insisting that I sing Let It Go at the top of my voice, even though I don’t know the words. She did though, which was enough for both of us. There were one or two songs from The Little Mermaid, and by the time I got home I felt infinitely better.

A rather soothing evening.

Here’s another reason my mood was raised yesterday. The young people I teach had begged me for ages to do a “student of the day” thing, so I did. The only thing I could think of as a prize that wouldn’t cost me any money and wouldn’t add to the amount of unnecessary crap in the world, but was still something they’d want, was a portrait of the student in question. I can tell you that it has been a resounding success. From about halfway through the class they start asking if I’ve decided yet. I say “I’m still thinking,” and they go completely silent and try to look as good as possible. They can only win once but they are still on their best behaviour whether or not they’ve won before (true deservers!). Then, about ten minutes before the end of class, I announce the winner in a great fanfare and then I do the portrait, and they watch me if they’re finished what they’re doing. I think it’s really good for them to see the magic (in their eyes) happen in front of them. They adore it and take as much pleasure in the portrait as the subject does. Yesterday was, as usual, a great pleasure for me to draw the portrait, to have a few cuties watching over my shoulder and to see the pleasure of the girl who won.

Draw something for your kid – they don’t care whether it’s good or bad, they’ll just love whatever you do because kids are really sweet.

I recommend it!


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