Still Locked Down, Day 73

It couldn’t last forever. The beautiful harmony we had enjoyed as a family for three whole months of being cooped up together cracked, and after a dinner that had taken me hours to cook one of my kids was rude to me. I am used to it with another of the kids, but not this one. A combination of the love and time I had put into the dinner (I even made sourdough rolls for the homemade burgers), the plentiful wine I had had over dinner and the rudeness of another of my kids earlier in the day was enough to tip me over, and I wept. I cry really easily anyway, but I haven’t for ages, so it was a bit sad. Not to worry! I gathered up my sketching gear and marched out into the beautiful summer evening, heading for a field nearby where I had spotted some rather spectacular cattle that needed capturing in my sketchbook. I stood and drew, listening to the wonderful Russ Roberts and his Econtalk podcast, and all was quickly well with the world again. I did get cold, but I was content.

The big creamy bull clung to the side of the lady beside him, tracking her every move. If she turned to eat a different patch of grass, he followed her. I told Liv (15) later on. “Sounds a bit needy,” she said. I said yes, definitely needy. Other “ladies” in the field called the big boy, but although he bellowed back he seemed a bit clueless, and I certainly didn’t pick up any aggression on his part. I did wonder if being sketched was the one thing he could not bear, and if he’d come crashing through the hedge to punish me. But mostly I concentrated on the podcast, which was about charter schools in New Orleans. I walked home at around ten p.m., with my sketchbook pages open, the air too cold to let the paint dry. When I walked into the kitchen my senses were assailed with the aroma of caramel and apples: a cake with apple slices in melted brown sugar underneath had been baked, and I was offered a slice along with a hot cup of tea, both of which were brought to me in bed. Now that’s my kind of apology. We’re all friends again.

This is the result of a few sketching efforts last week. Shari Blaukopf, a wonderful watercolour sketcher whom I have the honour of calling a friend, had suggested sketching the same view over different times of the day during her USk Talks Challenge a couple of weeks ago. It tales a while to collect a few sketches – and I have more – but I enjoyed the sketching. It was nice to be in the sunshine, nice to track the shadows, nice to be with the dog, who kept trying out different places to keep cool. Poor Reuben.

Back to more walks and more sketching today. One a day keeps the nerves at bay!

Now is the time for a bit of advertising. You’ll know if you’ve been following my blog that I have been doing sketching classes on Zoom. And you’ll know that I have been enjoying them thoroughly, and that my students have too, or I think they have, from their lovely comments. But last night someone got in touch asking me to join her organisation as a teacher of online workshops: I would be joining some of the very biggest names in the urban sketching world. The money would be good. I thought about it, but it didn’t take me long to turn down the offer, although it was an honour to be asked. The thing is, I like teaching live. I like interacting with my students. Their progress is very important to me and I like to make sure they are not having any difficulties, and if they are, to make sure I can help them with them. If you like pre-recorded online classes, where you can learn in your own time and at your own pace, I get that, but if you like the sound of live classes, maybe you might join my new class on Mondays: the time will be from 12.00pm-2.00pm GMT, which is 1.00-3.00pm in Galway (and London). Next Monday I am offering a class as a taster for those of you would have struggled with perspective: if you like the sound of it, just comment below and we’ll get in touch. It’s for new students only, and payment is a discretionary donation by PayPal – pay whatever you want either before or after the class. All going well, I will offer a Monday class at that time once a week, just as I do with my current students, and I will keep the lessons nice and simple for those who haven’t done a huge amount of art before now. There’ll be classes on gouache, on travel sketching, on drawing people and of course on all the kit you’ll need…it’ll be fun.

See you then!

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