Joys of January

Looking forward as well as back
Having fun in our "Winter Wonderland", January 2014
Well, what a year it has been, from the balmy breezes of the Caribbean, the Spring sunshine of the Baltic, the autumnal glow of the Med and then back to the sultry heat of the Far East to begin the New Year. Out on the lovely, but perpetually hot Bay of Bengal I got to thinking that despite all these wonderful places, we really are very lucky indeed to live in a country that has weather, and not just climate. Much as I am excited by the elaborate architecture of a Dravidian temple, or the bustle of a Burmese market, nothing lends itself to watercolour as much as our English weather. Indeed,the paintings that I have enjoyed creating most have been the ones with moody mists, shafts of sunlight, or moonlit snow...
Being able to pass on the techniques to record all this has been a special joy, and it has been very rewarding to see so many students gain in confidence in their exploration of this tricky medium. This was amply demonstrated by those participating in last week's "Winter Wonderland" workshop, where everyone went home happy with their Alpine huts and their snowbound sheep! The latter were the cause of great hilarity as we marvelled at just how many extra legs some sheep were sporting!
Already the days are lengthening, and some early snowdrops are bravely blooming outside my kitchen window. I've planted so many new spring bulbs this year,there's hardly a space where March or April won't be punctuated by a jaunty jonquil, the purple splash of an allium, or the smart livery of a bright red tulip, to say nothing of the air that will be heady with the scent of some beautiful Rembrandt hyacinths. Mindful of the opportunities this will bring on the creative front, I'm already looking forward to a special workshop planned for the end of March: "Springtime flowers". No need for a fancy title here, Mother Nature simply doesn't need one! See you there?