Re-visiting An Old Hobby

Monday, 30 November 2015

One of my most favoured past-times used to be Art. I used to love sitting with a sketchbook, a motte of colouring pencils and just drawing. I would draw anything that took my fancy - usually something fashion related or an actress that I particularly admired. I used to have an A3 sketchbook attached to me at school even though I wasn't taking Art as a subject (my art teacher nearly killed me when I told her that I wasn't taking the subject to GCSE level). Then it fell to the way side as so many hobbies do. 


A number of years ago, a friend of my Dad's took me to visit an artist friend of his because he had seen me drawing when he came to visit. I was drawing constant Kate Mulgrew drawings at the time. He even gifted me with oil paints and a set of brushes. This was before the time of YouTube and using the Internet to teach you everything. I didn't have a clue on how to use oil paints. I was used to pencils and paper. That was all I knew. As a result, because I didn't know what to do and I didn't learn what to do. The oils sat in the box and the brushes went to painting the glass panels on our dining room doors or picture frames. 

For a birthday around the same time, my parents gave me a basic watercolour set complete with a brush. It came in the most beautiful wooden box that could be converted into an easel Plus it was effective storage. I was so excited to use it. But as before, I didn't know what to do with watercolours. I used to religiously watch a TV programme called 'Watercolour Challenge' where amateurs would paint a chosen location and the winner of the episode would progress to the next stage. I didn't know how they did it. I was jealous of the talent that was evident in the participants. It wasn't until now that I realised that I had always been painting with water-activated paints for school. I simply didn't know that that is what they were and that there were so many techniques that I could have been using to make my paintings between. Looking back, we rarely got to paint at school. We mostly used pencils and I was hopeless with clay. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been reigniting my love of painting and drawing. I personally blame Jane Seymour and seeing the paintings that she's done but I've always been artistically inclined - I simply changed my medium to the computer and Paint Shop Pro for the last number of years. 


When I was drawing this portrait of Jane Seymour as Elise McKenna from 'Somewhere In Time', I felt at home with a pencil in my hand and my old sketchbook in front of me. That sketchbook hasn't seen the light of day since 2007. I couldn't believe the result that I got from that first foray into drawing in such a long time. 

I received a lot of compliments on it but it didn't take me long to remember why I didn't take Art to GCSE. Not just because I was a stubborn teenager. I realised that one day I could draw immaculately and then the next I could barely be able to draw a stick man. I wasn't consistent and it is the most frustrating and disheartening thing you could feel. I really wanted to draw something or get something down on paper but I just couldn't - I couldn't figure out how to get it started. Once I got the start right, everything else fell into place. It happened with the Elise drawing that I did - I initially started off in the wrong place but I realised that early enough to rub it out and start again. It was a breeze from then on. 


After that, I found the watercolour set that I had been given and started to experiment. My first stop was YouTube and the search for, 'How to use watercolours'. I could hardly choose from the amount of videos that came up. There were so many to choose from. I watched as many as I could before I felt like I could take paint to paper. My first attempt didn't go all that well but it was a decent attempt for a beginner. It's not included in this post. I went back to the videos and then attempted another painting and then another, my confidence growing each time and learning something new. I even started to experiment with watercolour pencils and I loved the results. 

I fell back in love with painting just like that. 

There has never been a feeling more natural to me than having a paint brush or a pencil in my hand. It feels like putting on the most perfectly fitting shoes or the warmest blanket. I can slip them on and spend hours creating and not even notice the time flying by. The Elise portrait took about three hours from start to finish and it felt like mere minutes. It simply flew by. 

I'm so glad that this passion has been reignited in me - thanks to Jane Seymour - and that it still feels as fulfilling as it was years ago. I hope to continue to learn more and to experiment more with other mediums and to tap further into that creative side that has desperately been wanting freed for years. Watercolours, pencils and oils. I love it all  Just look at Jane's painting above - who wouldn't wish to do something like that?


  1. Great post! Your paintings are so gorgeous. I would love to be able to paint as well, but I am actually the one person in my family that isn't artistic at all. (My dad is a graphic designer and studied art etc. at uni)

    I think it is so great that you have rediscovered a hobby like that. I think it can be so great having something that isn't really just computer/technology related. :) ♥ ♥

    1. Thank youuuuuu. There are days when all I want to do is try to paint and then days when I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler. That's so cool that your dad is a graphic designer. I had toyed with that idea when I was in high school but I feel like I shot myself in the foot by not doing Art.

      It is so good to have that because if the Internet is down or I have to send the laptop away for whatever reason, I can grab my paints and just have at it. It's wonderful to have a non-technological hobby besides reading. I get bored easily when reading at times.

      ~ Kazzie


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