I volunteer at a local school two afternoons a week as a Reading Helper, assisting three year 4 boys with their literacy. I try to make our sessions as fun and creative as possible. One of the things we did was use my bookbinding knowledge to make the boys own concertina story books. We then wrote stories for them, placing each child alongside their favourite fictional characters.
One of the boys that I work with is very creative and particularly enjoys drawing. I have been incorporating time into our afternoons so that he has a chance to draw and make things based on things we have been reading about. I have found that this has made me rediscover my own long lost passion for drawing, something which I lost touch with when I switched to taking photographs.
I used to be a pretty confident drawer, but as we all know - and I tell my creative pupil regularly - you only get bettter with lots of practice. Initially when I began trying to draw again it was a complete disaster but I have found myself starting to slowly improve. I'm not claiming to be amazing at it, but the pleasure it gives me is much welcome and I find sitting with my little sketchbook on an evening super relaxing.
I don't know what exactly has led me to drawing birds. Perhaps it's a subconscious thing as there is a certain air of freedom about a bird, with it's abillity to just take off into the sky, going wherever it wants. I can sort of relate to a feeling of being freer at the moment, as personally i've recently come through a long battle with some personal stuff. I have started to find that life is finally getting much brighter, and good things are starting to happen to me as a result of confronting these issues.
Another appeal of drawing birds is their beauty. I have an old 'Observers Book of Birds' that I use to sketch from, but I have always had an interest in encyclopedias and other old books that illustrate various animal species and their latin names.
My next step is to play around with the sketches and see what I can do next with them. I would like to try embroidering some of them, and collaging others to produce some interesting illustrated versions of them.
It's just finding the time!!