When was the last time you painted? Sculpted? Wrote a story? At what point in our life do we shelve the love and joy of creating, in any medium, for all the day to day tasks that seem more important but give less happiness? It’s strange to think that I have a background in art and design but taking time to explore my creativity is something I almost never give myself permission to do. I feel almost guilty when spending time creating with no real goal (ie, not for work or fun with the kids.) I’m not sure how I boxed myself into this mindset but this year I vowed to make an effort to nurture my artsy side and spend time feeding my creative energy. I set some goals to help keep me on track, mainly focusing on photography, writing and back to my roots of architectural design. But I’m happy to say, this week I also took the plunge into a creative space I’m not that comfortable with- fine arts.
Last year I was lucky enough to meet the super talented Australian born, Dubai based, artist Jessica Watson-Thorp. If you love colour and texture in artwork than you will love Jessica’s beautiful pieces! Somehow in her very busy schedule of exhibiting both internationally and locally, Jessica found time to offer a series of workshops for women, exploring different fine art mediums. I decided I would seize the moment and sign up for her ½ day class on watercolours.
Part of the beauty of Jessica’s classes is that they are in her home studio allowing you to be surrounded and inspired by her vibrant artwork. She gives you free rein to wander and explore her work space. I found it super exciting to see her many shelves of squished paint tubes and bottles, jars of well used brushes, sculpting knives, and paint splattered drop clothes. Colour everywhere. You instantly feel that you want to be an artist!
As each participant arrived, they repeated the same statement after their introduction “I used to love, love, love painting/drawing but I have not picked up a pencil or paintbrush since I was a child.” I kept thinking, “at what point do we not allow ourselves to do the thing we like doing, and why?” Anyway, enough thinking, the class was about to get started (another thing I love about Jessica’s class is that she starts on time!) We all gathered around her table and set out on our watercolour journey. The morning flew by as we learned different techniques, chatted with each other, and mostly got lost in our own world as we watched the paint colours swirl, blend, and bleed into each other. All the while, a fabulous playlist played in the background. It was brilliant.
As our pieces dried we all headed to the kitchen and sat together for a beautiful vegetarian lunch. This was our time to get to know one another and share a snippet of our personal story. With such a diverse group, it was super interesting to hear stories of past/current careers, home life, and travels. It was a great break to recharge our batteries before heading back to put the finishing touches on our pieces.
As time wound down on the workshop, we took time to appreciate and reflect on what each other had produced but more importantly to admire our own individual creations. I left the workshop feeling inspired and happy, excited to share everything with my husband and children. At home, they were all keen to know more about what I had learnt and each talked about what they liked to do in “art.” It kept making me think “why don’t we do this more often?!”
If you are interested in exercising your creative muscle but feel nervous to sign up for a class, I can absolutely guarantee one of Jessica’s workshops is the place to start. You will have a great time.