I am an artist. It always sounds boastful to make this claim, but there's no other word. I have always drawn and, to a lesser extent, painted. I went to art-college (though I was too young and dropped out before gaining a qualification) and I made my living as an illustrator, in advertising.
The discipline I was best at and - unsurprisingly - enjoyed most, was 'life'. And for most of my adult life I have continued to draw or paint the naked human figure. I've even tried a bit of clay modelling, though I've a long way to go to match Rodin!
Water colour is a medium I've always been interested in exploring, but I could never give up my life-class. But the decision was taken out of my hands. My local tutor, Mark Kelland, could no longer afford the higher cost of running the life-class. If the model didn't have to be paid and was willing to pose naked in premises that could be overlooked, or if Mark was willing to pass on all his costs to his students, he might have been able to continue. As George Harrison said: All Things Must Pass. So instead, I now do a lady-like water colour class instead, which I have to admit, I am enjoying.
I am really looking forward to attending a week long art course in Italy, in October. It is being run by a close friend of mine, Sara Moody, who last year bought the hill top Tenuta Poggiolame ( the Estate of Poggiolame) in Umbria. The course is being tutored by Mark Kelland, a master of technique, and by Andrew James, Vice President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, a new star in the art world. But it won't just be landscapes in water-colour or oils we will get the chance to paint. On the October course there will be a 'life model'! Hurrah!
These art courses/holidays are being run 4 times a year. The bedrooms are en-suite, there is a chef to provide delicious food, you can take a non-painting partner or friend to share your room, for a reduced cost. Around the house there are terraces and formal gardens, with grape vines and mediterranean plants and flowers. There is also a heated swimming pool. But the majority of the 220 acre Poggiolame estate is wild with olive trees, streams and pools. It is roamed by deer and wild boar. If you are interested go to the website: http://www.arteumbria.com/