I presume by now you’ve read the previous blog posts about the primary school children at Hartlip Endowed school near Sittingbourne in Kent who recreated their wonderful version of my acrylic painting “The way through the woods” – so you won’t be surprised to hear that when their teacher (who is a friend of mine) invited me to go and see them I was delighted, and it also helped immensely that I happened to be in the area at the end of May during the bank holiday so it was easy enough to go along on the day we’d agreed on to meet them.
I had been prewarned that all 30 of them had questions to ask me. But I didn’t know what any of them would be.
But I had told the teacher that I would be taking my painting with me, which of course none of the children (or teacher) had seen in real life, the teacher was using a photo of my painting taken on her phone from my Facebook page.
I arrived at 10.30 as agreed and was shown in to the large classroom where a semi circle of chairs had been placed infront of one chair by the large painting the children had been working on so I was able to admire it up close and see all the texture in it just before the children (aged 7-9 years old) were shown in to arrange themselves on the chairs. The teacher introduced me to the class after they settled down and then it was down to me to introduce myself – telling them that I had been painting all my life, was unusual in that I paint equally well in watercolours and oils and acrylics as well as draw in pencil, had my first commission at the age of 13 and had paintings all over England, as well as some sold to buyers in America, Australia, China, and Europe.
I told them what a wonderful job they had done working together as a group to produce their painting and asked if they would like to see my painting, there were nods, and I turned to unwrap my painting and as I unveiled it and held it up I had an experience I have NEVER had before – the sharp intake of breath from 30 people as they “wowed” over the painting! It made me smile big time to get that wonderful reaction!!
I explained how I had painted it and then asked if they had any questions for me… a sea of hands up in the air and I went through all the questions over the next hour… the gist of the questions and my replies were…
“What inspired you to paint this?” … I love the dappled light through trees and wanted to paint a picture in bright colours depicting that.
“How long did it take you to paint this picture?” .. About a week and a half.
“What was your process of painting this picture?”…. I decided which photo of mine I wanted to work from, drew it out as a thumbnail working out where the lights and darks were going to be and then put a layer of multi colours over the whole of the canvas, using a palette knife for most of it and slowly building up the layers in an impressionistic way to allow the colours underneath to show through until I was happy that the picture looked right.
“What is your favourite artist” … I love Caravaggio for his lights and darks, he was Italian, have you heard of him? (shakes of the head from the questioner) and I also love Hokusai he was Japanese was very clever at drawing and lived many years ago and I’m sure you’ve never heard of him either.
“What is the painting you are most proud of that you have done” (that was difficult to answer as I’ve done so many) but I narrowed it down to the one that was the relationship between one man and three women in his lifetime who had a big impact on him, done as abstract concept but depicted in a landscape with a dragon and castle in it.
“Why do you like paint?” … I love to paint pictures that make other people happy.
“What is the most expensive painting you’ve sold” … it was just over £1,200
“Do you live in a mansion?” … (with a grin I replied) No, I don’t.
“Are you famous?” .. I said that a lot of people had heard of me so I was to them but a lot of other people had never heard of me.
“Where do you paint?” .. I have a studio at my house that I paint from.
“Between 1 – 100 how much do you love painting?” … That’s easy I smiled…”100″ !!
The most wonderful part of this session was when one of the children said “This is the best day EVER!!” and he meant it. And I smiled and said it was one of my best days ever too! It was so uplifting to be around them.
When they had run out of questions, the teacher said that they had something they wanted to give to me and I was presented with a homemade card with a photo of their painting on the front and inside were four pages of comments that the children had written as their messages to me…. it was something that I will keep for ever.. and said..
We hope you like our painting.
Thankyou for letting us use your picture we loved it.
Your the best artist ever.
I liked doing our painting because we got messy and I love your painting.
Thankyou for the inspiring picture.
Thankyou for letting us use it for inspiring us.
Your picture is amazing I can’t believe how you did it inspired me so much thank you.
Your paintings are the best.
Thankyou for letting us use your painting.
How long did it take.
To Jackey I love your painting and recreating it thank you for letting us.
To Jacky your picture inspired us thankyou.
To Jackey your piece of art reminds me of a magical paradise you have done great work. Thankyou for letting us use it.
To Jakie thankyou but theres no but.
To Jackie I really enjoyed trying to recreate your picture thankyou you.
Hope you like the picture.
Jackie your painting is stunning when I look at it it made me feel wow I love your painting.
Your painting is good.
I love your painting you are the best artist ever.
What is your favourite painting.
Thankyou for letting us use your painting it has inspired me to do more art.
It is really fun for us I hope you can be fun.
Thankyou for letting us use your painting it inspired me.
Thankyou for letting us paint it.
Thankyou for letting us use your painting. It really inspired me and I never knew that if we all got our abilities and put them together we could make this.
And just as I thought we had come to an end of the session the teacher said there was just one more thing..would I sign some autographs for some of them? Yes I replied with a smile and was most amused that the queue grew as bits of paper and various coloured pens were thrust at me as I enquired names and wrote “To (name) best wishes Jackie Adshead” and as one lad received his from me he waved it in the air and called out “I’m rich!!” ( I could see that on ebay later that night I thought!!).
I spent the rest of the afternoon buzzing with the success of the visit and later on that evening the teacher texted me to say that she hoped I enjoyed today as much as she and the children did, they haven’t stopped talking about me!
I replied that I was still on a happy high from it and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them all and chatting with them and thanked her for arranging it all and said how touched I was with the card and the wonderful comments in it too.
It really was a wonderful day, for teacher, children, and artist alike!