Colder days

Moths by Hannah Foley ( temperature has dropped in the last few days and we are unusually unprepared. The chimney needs to be swept and the wood shed is bare. These are now urgent items on my ‘To Do’ list. So what have I been up to?

It’s been a funny old time for me and in a strange way I feel I’ve learnt more about who I am and what I’m about as an illustrator in the last few weeks of getting on with it than I did during the whole of my degree. Of course that’s not true and I probably wouldn’t be in a position to learn these things if I hadn’t been to art college but still, it’s a been a good time of reassessing priorities and finding new points on my internal compass. So, there’s various different things in the offing that either will or will not come to anything but here are two things I can tell you about.

First, I am teaching a life drawing class to university students one evening a week. I was pretty nervous when the course started but they’re a fabulous group and I feel very privileged to be a position to encourage and direct their creativity. I’m amused to find so many things my tutors used to tell me in my life drawing classes suddenly clicking into place. I don’t know if teaching will form much of a part in my future but in the mean time it’s great experience.

Secondly, I’m volunteering one afternoon a week for the Cyrenians as an in-house illustrator for one of their teams. The Cyrenians are a fantastic Edinburgh-based charity who originally started out working with homeless people but now work with just about any vulnerable group you’d care to mention, from drug addicts through to the elderly. I’m working with a new team who have been set up to start the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution. You can find out more about it here. It’s an incredibly exciting project to be involved in. I’ll be doing anything from illustrations for publicity through to reportage illustration of some of their events to document the process of starting the centre. It’s going to be a brilliant learning experience for me but it’s going to stretch me big time. I’m terrified and thrilled in equal measure!

A note on the birds: I’m going to come back to it in the spring. It is just too hard trying to learn bird song when the real birds aren’t singing and I really do want to do it properly. So, there’ll be a brief hiatus and I’ll return with the Blue Tit next year.

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