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So here’s the thing, books and writing and reading will always be my first love. But these days, writing in particular is also a job. So I needed something to do just for the sheer fun of it again. I knit but knitting generally takes a fair whack of time to finish a project plus I have to be careful of my wrists and hands and knitting can be hard on those. Late in 2013, when I was finally starting to be mostly over the vertigo, I started to get a yen to play with pencils and paper and ink. The vertigo had killed knitting so I really hadn’t had much play time other than taking a few pictures for about a third of 2013. I think the muse wanted her colour fix. My writer brain likes playing with colour for some reason. And I’ve learned to pay attention when my writer brain starts to ask for something (Barbara Samuel blogged about this very thing recently). I try to do a few fun short courses each year to feed the muse new things. But still, the schedule was busy and I put it off a bit.

Then, out of the blue, I saw an ad for a one day watercolour workshop. Now, I did a bit of art at school as most Aussie kids did and I enjoyed it but it was never a big thing for me and I was never one of the kids who got told they were good at it by the art teachers. I’ve always doodled a bit but never thought I had any particular artistic ability. And my family isn’t exactly bulging with artists. My Mum’s mum could draw a bit but never really did and my uncle is an architect and that’s about it. Books were far more common a thing to be interested in. But for some reason, I thought “Watercolour, I’ve always liked watercolour, let’s give it a whirl”. By “liked” I mean, liked looking at rather than having ever even tried watercolour paint. I owned some dodgy watercolour pencils. So I booked. And then it got rescheduled until March.

And I was still getting the urge to draw. I started to look around online for blogs and info about watercolours (in true Virgo fashion, one must research!) So in sometime in January I pulled out my watercolour pencils and drew this:

First steps

To my surprise, it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great but it was recognisable as the flower I was drawing. Go me! So I kept doing a little bit with coloured pencils and watercolour pencils until I did my watercolour workshop. Where I painted this (we focused on techniques and shapes in the workshop).

Contemporary watercolour study

And I was kind of hooked. Something about the way the paint flows on the paper, and the way the colours mix (oh the way the colours mix) and the crazy things that happen by accident and the way it makes my brain go still just made me happy. So shortly after that workshop, I obtained my first set of watercolours.

My first watercolour palette

Those are Daniel Smith tube paints in a Winsor and Newton palette I bought filled with student grade watercolour that I dumped. And then I found some online classes and signed up for an in person class too. And did some urban sketching (and some of that is a story for another time). And learned stuff.

Watercolour colour wheel

And found out I could draw (though I’m still learning about that) and paint.

China watercolour study

I even took my sketchbook on my travels and painted stuff (something I’d always thought would be cool).

Moeraki boulders sketch

If you’d asked me at the start of the year if I would have done that or spent hours painting and drawing and taking art classes and travelling to take art classes and becoming addicted to art supplies on top of my existing notebook problem, I would have probably laughed. But I did. And I’m convinced it helped me cope with the crazy writing and publishing schedule last year. Which only goes to show, sometimes you should follow that arrow wherever it points. Because you might just end up somewhere new and wonderful.

Anyone fallen into an unexpected hobby?

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