Drawing an MP – without meaning to

Today, I travelled to my studio for one reason and one reason only: for a tutorial with my personal tutor. We were long overdue a catch up and she’d just read the latest (perhaps eleventh, maybe twelfth) incarnation of my thesis so she needed to give me feedback on whether it was finally going in the right direction or still travelling off on its own blissful tangent. I also needed to talk to her about where I am at with my art practice. Before and after the tutorial, which was scheduled for 1pm, I was just going to work, potter, think and blog as usual.

However, the plan changed thanks to a chance encounter in the lift on the way up to my studio. Travelling up to the sixth floor with my coffee in one hand, my phone in the other, my head elsewhere, I was joined by another of the fine art tutors. He asked me how I was. I replied in the positive. We were making conversation, as one does. He then told me that he was travelling in the lift to attend a morning-long session with a bunch of interested students in drawing and photographing the MP for Wolverhampton, Eleanor Smith. He asked if I’d care to join them. 

Serendipity plays a large part in my life and certainly is the mother of luck in my life. I thought for a few seconds about his invitation, remembering all the urgent emails I had planned to reply to, and then replied with ‘yeah, why the hell not?’ So that is what I did.

I hadn’t expected to spend the day drawing an MP, but that is exactly what I did do and enjoy it, I did, immensely. I had been aware of this competition to produce a portrait of the MP for Wolverhampton which could result in the chance to exhibit at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery but I had dismissed it as being something I didn’t have time to do. I had been vaguely aware of a session to draw Eleanor Smith in preparation for the competition, which I thought was soon. Then, I had this chance meeting. Then, I started considering the prospect. Then, I drew and photographed Eleanor and, more importantly, listened to her. Then, I had an idea. I decided that I could enter. I wanted to enter. I would enter.

Eleanor Smith’s feet

So, I have added a new project to my already heavy cart full of projects but that is how I operate at best. As my old friend Andy said recently when he asked me to paint the library at Wolverhampton: if you want something to be done, ask a busy person.

As for my tutorial – that went well too. The thesis is apparently not too bad. She actually said she enjoyed reading it. Woohoo. Winner! I also came up with an idea for the final show at the Walsall Art Gallery while chatting with her. Or, maybe. We’ll see. It might have some legs, a couple of legs perhaps.

So as I gallop towards the final furlong of my MA on the aforementioned legs, I feel that I might even be able to gallop happy with my head held reasonably high, and on the side, create a portrait of the MP for Wolverhampton. We’ll see. Watch this space.

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