I find that everything I draw becomes dynamic – the cyclamen stands upright with petals blown back by the speed it is moving at.
The women show each other the pictures in their sketch books, they are shy but they know they like what they have done; they even perhaps think it is quite good and want their neighbour to admire it. The women nurse each other’s sensibilities; tend to each other; make each other feel valued. The teacher’s mother, who is in the class, has a kind, open face. She notices that I am leaving and says goodbye. She notices what people need or what she thinks they need. Her attention is outwards. Does this mean that attending to the page is difficult because unfamiliar? Each woman tends to the other’s need not to feel bad; one way they do this is to down play their own work. I catch myself doing it “This bit is a mess; I haven’t got that line”, But I can see that it’s OK. And I know that drawing is forgiving – after close looking at the object we are drawing, we know how it falls short, but a new viewer has not looked as we have. They see something that we have drawn, not that we have tried to represent; our efforts are hidden from them.
How would it be if we all said positive things – I’m pleased with the way I captured this. I like the way that curve just came out right; I love the way the colour went on; I amazed myself that I drew something that looks like a cyclamen.
The town is full of old people, with sticks and little bags, walking slowly but greeting each other in one-sided conversations that the deaf other cannot quite join in. It makes me feel sad – selfishly sad because I am going to be like that; if I am lucky, and do not die or get ill, I will be like that. Alone, old, hobbling, with a small focus a limited horizon.
On the way home, Tesco had reduced the price of flowers – I buy orange tulips and discover they come with a piece of scented white broom; and daffodils, two bunches for 30p! I put them in jugs and vases all around the house.
The next search will be for flower pictures – the teacher said that my edges were too hard and I kind of understood. I want to see how others have drawn soft edges – I know, Elizabeth Blackadder. And then I will paint the tulips. Already I want to paint. And the excuse that I haven’t a studio because there is a bed in the spare room has dissolved; there is space for my easel in the kitchen between the fireplace and the window. The light is good, and there is music and coffee. Does a life need more than this?