It was with a sense of excitement and, I confess, trepidation that I arrived at Waterhead for a weekend of Lake District Watercolour Painting, one in a series of events hosted by English Lakes. Signing up for something like this can feel a little like putting your creative neck on the line!
Testing the water over our champagne and canapé reception on the Friday evening, I tentatively threw out a line about having not ever really done anything like this before. I was pleasantly surprised, and not a little relieved, to discover that we were all novices, and all nervous about our impending foray into the world of paint, colour, tone, perspectives and vanishing points. Having established our common fragility, we relaxed and enjoy a sumptuous three-course dinner whilst Dawn Pretty, our artist in residence, outlined what the weekend might hold, promising us that we would all have a work of art to hang on our wall by the end of the weekend.
The next two days were a discovery of watercolour techniques and experimental exercises designed to give us a measure of confidence and allow us to ‘have a go’ at committing our own marks and flourishes to the correct grade paper of course. My initial nervousness at allowing others to view what might be my total ineptness was quickly exchanged for a light camaraderie and an appreciation of my fellow artists.
Perfect late summer sunshine allowed us to sit by the lake at lunchtime on Saturday and take in the wonderful view towards the Langdale Pikes whilst munching our prepared pack lunch – this was to be our first masterpiece! Dawn was such a gracious teacher and so encouraging of our ‘stylised’ pieces. The end result may not take pride of place in my parlour, and when I look at it I see first all the blemishes and not the beauty but, am I inspired to take up a new, totally absorbing and rewarding pastime? Absolutely!
- Written by: +Tina Taylor