Read about ... The Heartland Watercolours (2)
The little story I told of How I got to the place I'm in now finished at the birth of the Heartland Watercolours with the painting called The First Red Flower. It's funny how things just happen in your life. Sometimes you wish they hadn't, but other times you have to feel glad they did.
Getting to the place that allowed me to find the Heartland Watercolours is something I'm soooo pleased about. I really love each one of these pictures I paint. I love how they look, I love how I do them. It's just so exciting to create something that makes you happy. And it's even better when it makes someone else happy too.
I've got this little scene in my head from when I was maybe four or five, just a little kid. I remember always drawing, but I also remember asking, probably too often, 'What shall I draw?' I can still feel myself sitting at the table with my pencil in my little kiddy hand, I can see my forearm and the stripey sleeve of a wonderful jumper my mum knitted for me out of leftover wool, and a blank piece of paper in front of me. I think, in this moment I'm remembering, my mum probably said to draw a horse - or maybe it was a tortoise, that sounds more like it. And once I knew what to draw, I would draw it. But the thing about this little scene is that I've always remembered it and have since taken it to mean that I didn't have much imagination. As an adult I've never felt that imagining was my thing. I've tended to be quite practical.
My husband is an author. People always ask him how he gets his ideas, or where he gets his inspiration. And when they do, I think to myself, 'Yeh, it's amazing, he's got a million stories in his head just waiting to be written.' Since I've been painting the Heartland Watercolours, I've so often thought and said excitedly, 'I've got a million pictures to paint!' I feel so happy that I can say that, because now it seems like I have an imagination after all and it knows no bounds! Maybe I just always needed to find the right outlet.
I have so many ideas now for pictures that I use the list app on my phone to note them down any time of the day or night. The list is really long and getting longer! But the good thing about doing these paintings is that I have to do them quickly. Especially the drawing stage. Drawing with masking fluid is a messy business and, because the spontaneity of the drawing is the key, at least to my enjoyment of the pictures, it has to be done with a certain flow and speed to make the masking fluid go roughly where I want it. So I make notes, one by one, of the million pictures that are queueing up in my head, and I aim to create as many of them for you (and myself) as time will allow.
Another reason I'm so glad I finally found my way to this place is that it brings together lots of the things I've always loved. Things that make my heart feel good. From the time I did that original version of The First Red Flower painting, the one that went wrong (see How I got to the place I'm in now), I started to realise that the style was suggestive of woodcuts, stained glass, stencils, stamps, batik, cloisonné, my old favourite the sgraffito technique, even The Beano! So many things I've loved all my life seemed somehow incorporated into the style of the pictures I was now doing. There must be something about a line or an outline in a piece of art that hits a spot in my brain and makes it something special to me. Which brings me right back to my instinctive love of drawing, my need to draw, and right back to when I sat with my pencil in my hand when I was little and my mum suggested I draw a horse, or maybe a tortoise.