Fiona Duff: Creation of art better than product

For a while I’ve been looking for something to do to expand my mind. Or at least focus it for a few hours whilst trying to learn in the process. A couple of years ago I went to classes at the Edinburgh School of Philosophy and they were both interesting and definitely helped me take a slightly more balanced perspective on life. Little things that had become huge problems – in my head – were given the importance that they deserved; which in most cases was very little.

So in September I started going to a class at the Art Club on Brandon Terrace. For the past few Tuesdays I have trundled along with a few others and attempted to draw and paint a selection of objects sitting in front of us. The first class had a bit of a shock in store when my son’s headmaster walked into the room. I then remembered that son has now gone to university. “Don’t worry, I’m not a school mum anymore,” I said reassuringly. School mums are the bane of any headteacher’s life.

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What I have discovered in these past weeks is that I have not missed any great calling in life. At times what I have produced isn’t too dissimilar to the “works of art” my children brought home from nursery school. I really can’t draw for toffee, or indeed my preferred 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate from Lindt. However, that doesn’t stop it being fun and concentrating my mind on nothing else for two hours at a time. What I am quite good at is shading, and after the watercolour lesson I dreamt of that particular skill when my head hit the pillow.

I suddenly could understand what drew Prince Charles to painting – if you have the weight of the world on your shoulders (and let’s face it with those ears his head probably does stack up a few more pounds than the bonces of his soon-to-be subjects), you can forget. Whether it’s the washing, climate change or Higher results, it can only be good, even if the actual result is rubbish.