I was at Mumsnet WorkFest on Saturday and it was a very inspirational and interesting event aimed at mothers returning to work after a career break or maternity leave, wanting to look for another job or starting their own business. I’ll be blogging about it shortly.
One of the discussions that came up during the introduction was the topic of finding time to do things for yourself. For one of the panel she always made time for running, that was her “me” time. For the other 5 on stage, they admitted that juggling a family and work was keeping them busy enough for the time being. One person admitted that they weren’t really thinking about hobbies at this age and imagined they would be off in a villa somewhere painting and doing poetry when they retire.
As many of my regular readers know, I have gone on a bit of a mission in my life to try as many things as I can. I have the philosophy of “don’t put off tomorrow what you could be doing today”. You never really know what is around the corner so you really do have to seize the day. It’s why I created the joy jar. Anyway, I really stepped it up when I turned 40, my little midlife crisis, as I became more and more aware of time slipping away. I don’t think I’ve got the time to keep putting things off forever. I made a decision that I was going to start to make time to ensure I was happy as well and I was going to try and do all the things I’ve quite fancied trying. The only issue being I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
I’ve done my half marathons now (pre dodgy knees) and I have my Psychology degree under my belt (graduated the month after I turned 40) and so I set my eyes on having a go at blogging and here it is. More enjoyable than I ever dreamed but most importantly constantly pushing me on to try things, improve my wardrobe, seek out new makeup and generally be more positive about getting older.
What I really wanted to try was painting and I previously blogged about this so I won’t go into the details of why, now. Suffice to say I have done 6 weeks (on and off, brilliantly I was able to roll over days if I couldn’t make it) and I loved every minute of it. I think I got very lucky with the teacher and the way she ran her business. It was very often one on one tutoring and about half the lessons there was one other person there, usually more advanced than me. She hovered a bit on day 1, hovered less on day 2 and then went about doing her own painting either alongside me or in her other studio, popping in every 10-20 minutes to offer guidance where necessary.
I had to start from the beginning. Apart from a few recent sketches in a moleskin pad that I’d started at the beginning of the year I had not done anything remotely artistic since I was 16 and that was at school. I didn’t show a particular flair for it either, I remember quite enjoying it but not being very passionate about it. As I’ve said, my sister was the one labelled “creative”. She started by making me sketch cups mostly. Lots of the buggers. So sick of cups and mugs. However, she said they are the hardest thing to get right (those ellipses at the top are tricky sods) and it is a good solid ground for learning shading. So I sketched about 4 mugs over around 3 of my lessons. We then moved to the paints. I painted one mug with acrylics which was enjoyable. I liked what I’d done. It wasn’t spectacular but I was pleased at my detailed painting and the shading inside the mug. When you paint, you don’t have to be true to the colours you are painting so for me, that was the hardest part. Accepting that a cream mug, needn’t be cream if the overall picture suffered as a result and that I could experiment with different colours, shade in different colours, bring a random colour in, was very freeing but also petrifying in places. She picked up on my particular style of painting and suggested oil paints to aid with blending, so I progressed to those.
Some nights I was so tired I would get a bit fed up, especially when things weren’t going to plan. Some nights I was just switched on and time flew, I enjoyed the process and I was pleased with what I had done.
So now I’m done. I did two little paintings that I worked on in the last 3 weeks or so. I was going to buy a canvas and pick a subject I could paint, but my teacher has decided to take some time out from painting and her classes as she is in the throes of becoming a guardian to her sister’s daughter and so I will have to go it alone through the summer until she decides to return.
So I think I’m going to take the plunge. Buy a canvas, buy some oil paints and all the bits and bobs that go with it (brushes, white spirit, oil mix) and see how I am going to fit it into my home life. I’m actually going to have to give this a lot of thought, because it’s all fine and well heading off to a purpose built studio on a Monday night, but I’m not sure I’d have the discipline to do that at home.
Who knew, hey. I not only enjoyed it but according to my teacher I am a bit of a natural. The lesson : Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today, you never know what talents lie beneath.
My painting…..not perfect, but I’m a little bit proud of it.