Last week, at my watercolour class, our tutor John showed us a watercolour portrait he has recently completed. It was brilliant - a picture of Harry his late father created with love but also with expert command of the medium. As I peered closely through the glass, the woollen cardigan that the old man was wearing looked so much like knitted wool, it was almost unbelievable.
For a moment, I felt like an ill-equipped walker looking up at the mountain top. To reach the standard that John has achieved in that portrait would surely take a lifetime of practice and dedication. Sadly, I haven't got a lifetime left.
The session on January 26th saw the assembled class members painting pictures of back street Italian doors. The plaster walls and doors we observed in photographs were rough and ancient and I am sure that is why John chose them - for their interesting textures.
He showed us how to mask off the door area so that we could concentrate on the wall texture. This involved low adhesive decorators' "Frog" tape and amongst other things the gentle flicking of paint from a stiff brush.
I would have needed a couple of hours more to complete the exercise so I brought my board home and completed the door itself - still trying to concentrate on texture. Well, in the end, I was pretty happy with the wall but the door was very much experimental as I sought to learn what the paint could do and to be much bolder, less hesitant in my use of colour. Really, I ought to attempt that composition many more times - developing more effective techniques. I guess it's a never-ending learning process.