Many have been tapping into their creative side as a form of escapism and easing the boredom during lockdown. Jayne Freer looks into a perfectly packaged approach to finding her inner artist…
Unable to continue my ongoing upholstery course since the onset of lockdown, I have turned my fidgety hands to other creative skills these past weeks, some of which I remember being taught by my late grandmother almost 40 years ago. I’ve reacquainted myself with a needle and thread for a spot of cross-stitch, put on weight after baking delicious cakes, and made attempts to be more self-sufficient by re-growing veg from leftover scraps.
But there’s one skill I’ve always wanted to try but have avoided due to my complete ineptness when it comes to proportions – and that’s painting.
I’ve always admired talented folk who can pick up a paintbrush, mix a few colours and create the odd masterpiece at the drop of a hat. According to psychologists, colouring, drawing and painting can help to reduce stress and depression and improve mood – so what better time to give it a try than now?
The ‘mindfulness art studio’ MasterPeace has created ‘At Home’ art kits with easy step-by-step instructions and online tutorials to help master the basics, as a way of keeping boredom at bay during isolation. Tapping into the wellbeing benefits of creativity, they’re aimed at boosting your mood too.
With seven designs to choose from by different artists, the kits come with the basic outline already sketched on the canvas giving complete novices like me a helpful starting point.
Selecting the giraffe design, two days later a thin parcel landed on the doormat. The following week I sat with paintbrush in hand and joined six other budding artists on a Zoom online tutorial led by the artist who created the giraffe, Harriet Gillett.
Before letting us loose on our canvases, Harriet got us all to sketch on a scrap piece of paper the outline of the giraffe with our non-dominant hands. This was to be our practice piece.
The results prompted much laughter as each of us held up and shared the results with comments like ‘mine looks drunk’ and ‘mine’s cross-eyed’.
Next, Harriet got us to paint the outline of our sketches using the black acrylic paint giving us tips on how to create thick and thin lines. I was glad to be working on the practice sketch because I found mastering the thin lines a little tricky.
It was then time to start building up the colour. A blob of yellow paint on the pallet was mixed with water, bit by bit, to make it more fluid on the page. Further tips from Harriet on brushstrokes and adding the finishing touches, and the session was over in a flash.
Time for the big reveal. We all held up our work. Each one was as individual as their creators and, I have to say, I was quite chuffed with mine for a first-time effort.
With my newfound knowledge, it was time for the real thing. Over the next couple of days, allowing time for colours to dry, I followed the simple, five-step instructions which came in the kit. First the black outline, followed by the yellow base, then mixing different tones of orange to build up the details, before finally adding the background and finishing touches.
I was so immersed in the piece that the hardest thing was telling myself to stop before I over did it and ruined the piece!
With the giraffe now done and ready mounting on the wall I’m going back online to MasterPeace to see which other design I can try next. And, when all this is over and we get back out in the real world, I’m planning a trip to their London workshop to see how much further I can develop my newfound love of painting.
Masterpeace art kits start at £25. For more details, visit www.masterpeace.studio or follow them on Instagram @masterpeacelondon.