Rediscovering your passion

“At Audley Binswood, we have a small art group with varying abilities. One recent session our leader asked us to draw a favourite shoe or boot. None of us had done this before. This is my attempt drawn in 60 minutes. Why not have a go and sketch one of your shoes? You might be surprised at the result, as I was”

- Mrs Micklethwait, Audley Binswood Owner

There has never been a better time to rediscover your creative talents or even to learn a new one. With many of us finding more time spare in recent weeks due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but also new retirees finding themselves with more free time available, it provides many with an opportunity to think back to the hobbies joy was once found in.

This time could even be utilised to focus on a new interest that has always been on the list to try if the opportunity arose.

We asked Mrs Micklethwait a few questions about enjoying art in retirement...

1. How long have you been creating art? Has it always been a big part of your life?

Yes, for the last thirty years on and off. Also at senior school level I really enjoyed art and achieved a B+ grade.

2. What are some things you have created in the Audley Art Club?

Each week we are given a suggested subject/object to paint or draw by our Audley art club leader, so the subjects are varied each session. It could be a view, flowers, a shoe, a teddy bear etc.

3. Have you made friends through the club?

Definitely. I was new to Leamington Spa so started socialising here from scratch. We have an art group of about ten people and usually 7 manage to attend each session. Everyone gets on really well and does varying levels of artwork. Of course there is much chatter whilst working, which makes this Friday group very friendly. We enjoy it very much.

4. Is there a form of art that’s your favourite?

I have worked in all mediums. Nowadays, as acrylic paints have improved, I use mostly acrylic as it dries quickly. I used to like painting snow scenes, but now am doing a lot of animal paintings, like quirky emu heads, cute fluffy dogs, squirrels, sheep’s heads etc.

5. What’s your proudest piece of work?

An abstract of a sunset peeping through a scruffy woodland, using pen and ink and acrylic. It was sold as soon as I had it framed and before it even reached that months exhibition!

6. What’s one piece of advice you’d give a new artist?

Don’t start by using water colour. A good picture using wet into wet is really hard to achieve. I would say start by using just a charcoal pencil and have a go. One can smudge these lines to make very nice shadows. You’d be surprised with the result.

7. What’s your latest inspiration?

I have never drawn a car before. I looked out of my apartment window today and In 40 mins achieved this drawing, which was not too bad!

Audley owner art work binswood

It might be art like Mrs Micklethwait in our Royal Leamington Spa retirement village. Or perhaps some other creative outlet, such as creative writing, journaling, learning a musical instrument, or even tuning up your singing voice and joining a choir. Each is a talent in some respect and why should those talents lay undiscovered and go to waste?

Give yourself a challenge. Write that poem, sing that song, learn that instrument or paint that canvas. There is an abundance of research out there to affirm that engaging in creative activities contributes to keeping a healthy and active brain.

Creativity boosts brain health

Creativity can not only help boost your mood and feelings of positivity, but also reduces stress, anxiety and depression and can even help the mind to process trauma.

So maybe now more than ever, there needs to be a focus on engaging in creative talents as much as executing the routine tasks of daily life.

From all at Audley Villages, we love the drawing by Mrs Micklethwait. It has been an inspiration for all of us to look at this dormant time not as moments wasted, but as an opportunity to uncover our own unique creativity again.

Here are a few more ideas to fill your time. Time to read, time to learn, time to reconnect.

If you have recently picked up a new hobby or rediscovered an old one, we would love to hear from you.