I was standing on a shore, watching the boats leave and take to the waves. The sailors were focussed and busy with their seafaring activities. I wanted to go with them, to experience the feeling of sea-flight, and yet I was grounded, my boat in pieces in front of me. I could swim, at least I could do that, but how was I meant to get out there – far out there – when I had no boat?
I didn’t know what to do and I was offered no help. I knelt and began to fit pieces together, unsure of where they should go. I managed to put a raft together, hesitantly pushed it out on the water, and then sat on it. It wasn’t comfortable and I had no good way of directing it forwards. Soon my raft and I were back on the shore. This wasn’t what I had envisaged – this passive, circuitous journey – so I walked away from it, telling myself that the shining waters in the distance would be forever unknown to me. I left the raft at the edge of the shore, where it back-and-forthed at the patient grey pebbles.
Many years later I found the beach again. It looked exactly as it had before, even my raft was there. This time though I had a friend with me, a friend who encouraged me to re-make the boat. This friend was gentle on my bumbling efforts and clumsy hands. She suggested ways of fitting the boat together and she helped me to find those who were rich in sea-faring knowledge. She showed me that there was no shame in asking for help. So I constructed a boat, a good boat, and I set sail…
I always wanted to be able to paint. I wanted to be able to paint a face with watercolours. But faces are difficult and painting with watercolours is difficult! You can’t just do it and expect it to be the way you want it to be first time round. You need the materials, you need the skills, you need someone to help you… you need to practise.
I now have the necessary materials, I know of the various techniques used in watercolour painting and I have begun to acquire new skills. I practise as much as life allows. I recently painted a face in one colour and I am pleased with the end result (multiple colours is going to be a new and interesting challenge!). I want to be able to paint much, much more… my imagination is running miles ahead in terms of inspiration, and I don’t have the skills as yet to turn my dream pictures into a reality, but at least I know what I have to do to get there.
I have left the shore behind; I am out at sea and all I can see is beauty… all the possibilities, all the journeys, all the creative adventures.