Working alongside Engage and Ty Pawb (Wrexham) to deliver a series of online workshop to a group of young and talented youngsters. Through the need to have an interpreter Wendy was able to augment a phenomenal response to the posed question of ‘Sense of Place’. Words can be lost in translation – clarity of instruction was required to engender an artistic pulse. And what work these young people produced. Eager to learn and comfortable to experiment with myriad new techniques.
We are living through an unprecedented period of time that has changed the way in which we have to view what is normal. At RAW-i Studios Wendy has been an ardent voice for embracing the need to use technology to sustain the artistic conversations. Many of these have seamlessly flowed from pre-lockdown face to face multi person workshops to joining virtual sessions via webcam and internet. What was lost has been more than substituted for by Wendy’s professionalism, enthusiasm and quite unadulterated desire to develop individuals to reach new heights in their artistic endeavours.
Using video conferencing tools will always be a challenge, especially in developing practical skills such as in the Arts. Yet, Wendy has mastered them and indeed is now, alongside Robin at their RAW-i Studios, delivering this expertise to others. This sharing of knowledge and best practice redefines the opposition to ‘lockdown’ and ‘isolation’. Neither of which should be seen solely in the negative form.
As April ploughs onward towards the summer months the global pandemic continues to ravage virtually every country on the planet. As an artist I have found a certain amount of solace at being able to continue to paint during these times. I am extremely fortunate to have my studio on my property and therefore can squirrel away for a few hours each day to under and consider, play and experiment.
Ideas, resting in myriad sketchbooks are being reviewed and developed. Notions captured months, years ago finally having the opportunity to be expressed. All the while the meadow indeterminately seethes to the pulse of the Springtime heart. Songbirds frolic and feed, finding nests in hard to reach – safe places. Just like the diminutive wren holed up in a woven hessian fish carrier embedded deep within the thorns of the ancient rose we too find ourselves locked away. It is a privilege to have access to this meadow and this studio. I count these blessings each and every day for I know that others are struggling.
As the veils of the winter dissipate spring is finally in full flow. Sharp frosts still adorn the ground but the latent high pressure has graced us with clear blue skies and warming sunshine. The plants, birds and insect are all more noticeable in our micro meadow. Robins feeding in their pairs, the diminutive wren labyrinthine in movement picks unseen morsels from the trellis and the rose before diving into its well built nest.
The studio had fallen silent, masterclasses on hold as the pandemic induced lockdown bites. With every crisis comes opportunity. In our case it is time. We have been presented with time. Travel restriction and business closures mean we have to stay at home. The studio beckons the oozing of oil paint, the scent of fixers, the feel of canvas.
Over the next few weeks I will be delving into my studio and losing myself in my work. For it is here within the frame of my studio that I can reject the panic, embrace the creative and harmonise my ideas with a physical embodiment.
The outside meadow has fallen silent. Seeds fallen to the ground slumber. Decaying stems and deteriorating leaves occupy space once rich in flower and beast. Where have they gone, the spiders, the butterflies, the bees – the bugs of plenty for the habitual birds. The tiny wren and the bold robin mere songs from deep within the evergreen honeysuckle – eyeing the movement of worm or beetle.
The studio is cosy and work is abundant. Masterclass finished for the day, students merrily on their way. Brushes still react to the paint and press of the artists departed. Work drying in situ. The outside feels distant – barriers of warmth cosset the body within this space.
As the paint eases on the paper, the scent of oil and varnish soothe the air, take a step back and ruminate. There is time in doing nothing but observing. Look with mind open and loosen the orders of your own command.