My art classes hadn't finished before the coronavirus led to a lock down with no socialising. My students had already paid so I had to find a way around the problem. It was Kirsty, one of my students, who first suggested using WhatsApp, I thought it would be a much better idea than a video as the classes were 2 and a half hours long and I doubt anyone wanted to watch me or hear me for that length of time!
I suggested the plan to my group who were all delighted the last two sessions could go ahead and thankfully all were on WhatsApp.
I decided to pick a theme, add samples of paintings and sketches relating to the theme and send this information two days before the session would normally take place. It gave everyone time to think.
The first theme was 'sketch what you see through your window'. I sent pictures by Matisse, Hockney, Dufy, Reg Cartright and a couple of lesser known artists. My group kept in touch with how the social isolation was affecting them and when the session would normally start I posted the view of my window and my initial rough sketch.
My students certainly rose to the challenge and they posted some amazing sketches and we all got to see a little bit of each others' houses/gardens and also to chat about other things. It was a huge success.
The second challenge was 'Interiors'. Again I sent pictures and again there were some beautiful pieces of work and some really lovely chats between us all. My two sketches are at the top of this blog. I had one person drawing from the inside of their greenhouse with lots of small seedlings coming up and another drawing the space where she likes to read a book which looked so peaceful. It was lovely to know that they had been thinking of what to draw in the two days between receiving the theme and making the drawing.
They were very interested to hear about my daughter who started her training an an ambulance medic last summer. It just so happened that she had two trauma events the night before where the air ambulance was called and all medical procedures have to be done in full protective kit. I believe it helped them understand what the NHS staff are really facing. My daughter said she was really hot and tired after giving CPR in a plastic suit but loving the way businesses and individuals are sending food, hand creams and other stuff to the front line services that they can't use because they have had to close their businesses.
I will stop the classes now until after Easter and get down to some serious painting for exhibitions which I trust will happen in the Autumn but I am certainly looking forward to doing the classes through WhatsApp again.
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