During the past year lockdowns around the world as well as the decrees or altogether halt of travel, due the pandemic, has kept quite a few families apart. Especially amongst an expat community, like the one I belong to in Berlin, many people have their families spread out across multiple countries. While video calls and texting have made it easier than ever to keep in touch, it’s easy to miss that feeling of just hanging out together and enjoying each others company. That easy feeling when you know someone well enough that you don’t have to talk the whole time but it is a comfort knowing they are there.
Of course we can’t recreate this exact feeling of intimacy via the internet, but a family in my recent Winter Botanical Watercolor Workshop used the classes an ingenious solution. Every week we met as a class, livestreaming, and every week the Wigfalls would paint together bridging the space between London and Berlin.
We’ve also had several instanced already of best friends located in different cities, or even continents, join workshops online to spend time together. Again, there is no true substitute for a physical connection, but it was a way for them to share and experience and leave with shared memories that mark a time in that relationship. Unfortunately a time when they could not be together physically, but they could share in a creative process together.
Read below about Clare’s experience participating in the workshop with her mother and her daughter.
“I’ve just finished Mira’s online Winter Botanical Watercolour series and it’s been a very special experience, not only because the class was wonderful, but also because I signed up together with my eleven-year-old daughter and my mum. I think it’s the first time the Berlin Drawing Room has seen three generations of one family in a class! My mum is in London and we are in Berlin and sadly the pandemic has stopped us from being together for over a year now, so it was especially lovely to be able to feel that we could do something creative together each week. We’ve all loved it and felt it was perfectly tailored to suit all of our levels. Having time to quietly paint together was a real joy, and we’ve learnt so much, not just in terms of technique gleaned from observing Mira’s demonstrations, but also from the introductions she gave at the start of each class which covered the history of botanical art, prominent artists, and different approaches to depicting horticultural specimens.
I used to draw and paint a lot, but since having children I had stopped almost completely, even though I’m constantly encouraging my daughters in their artistic pursuits. When the kids were little I used to go along with them to art classes and we’d have fun making a mess with paint, but there aren’t so many opportunities to take a class together as they get older. I’m not really sure why because it’s an amazing way to spend focused time with your child. I’ve loved seeing how far my daughter’s work has progressed during the course, but just as much I’ve really valued how the framework of the class has given me space to return to drawing and painting and remember just how much I love to do it too! It’s great to have a passion we can share together. We’ve already signed up now to the Bestiarium sketchbook series taught by G Caruso and have persuaded one of my daughter’s friends and their mum to join us. Can’t wait to see what happens as we all start dreaming up mythical and magical creatures together – it’s going to be fun! ”
Clare Wigfall, Berlin