It doesn’t rain very much in Dhahran does it! However, as summer approaches some days are just too hot to go out and if you’re anything like me you really appreciate a day in the house, just as you do on a rainy day at home. But, what to do if you really don’t feel like reading, watching television, or sorting out that cupboard you promised yourself you’d do weeks ago?

Perhaps it’s time to do something different. Maybe start a project utilizing some of those skills you learned in an adult education or art class? Come on, you really want to don’t you – just lack a bit of inspiration? And where to start?

Throughout my years in Aramco, as an office worker for a number of years and now as a “lady of leisure”, I have taken numerous classes. As a frustrated artist, having managed to obtain ‘O’ level art at 16, I have taken drawing, watercolor, silk painting and quilting classes, amongst others. I even did a woodwork class once, a long time ago, but the machines terrified me and all I managed to produce was a square of stuck together pieces of wood instead of the class project, a chopping board.

Most recently I took a very excellent matting course (taught by Brad Kille and highly recommended) in order to display my artwork to its best advantage. But, a slight dilemma – no artwork! When a friend suggested we learn to make stained glass next, I realized there was a bit of a problem – too many classes and not enough subsequent action. So, no more classes till I start producing something.

I have books on ragwork, embroidery, quilting, paint effects, needlecraft, crochet, knitting, etc. etc. etc. And there’s no problem in being able to obtain the materials here. Zamil’s, Jarir’s and Muqtaba’s all have an excellent range of arts and crafts materials. In fact, Zamil’s has a much better range of products than you’d find in most high streets at home. So, no excuse there then. When shall we begin?

You’re more likely to start and stay with a project if you can set up a work area where all your materials can be close at hand. The idea being that you can then leave the work out when you’re finished for the day and don’t have to drag it all out again when you’re ready to recommence. Somewhere where no dirty little hands or mischievous little paws can wreak havoc on the potential masterpiece. Well, I’ve done that. I’ve set up a table in the spare bedroom, put my arts and crafts books on the bookshelf in the same room, my paints and brushes near at hand, all my art paper within easy reach. My cat is sleeping very peacefully on the spare bed showing no interest whatsoever. I’m letting him stay there as I understand a pet in the room not only lowers blood pressure but also gets the creative juices flowing.

We’re moving to a larger house soon and there will be lots of wall space to cover. I’m very interested in oriental art. I went to the library the other day and checked out three really good books on the subject and I’m going to try to get inspiration from some of the images and create a painting in acrylics. I think I will make a resolution (like you do at New Year) to create a piece of art at least each month. Maybe it will be a wall quilt, a painting, or a little furniture renovation. Then I’ll write and tell you what I’ve done and if necessary how I did it. Maybe I can give you some inspiration. But now I’m going to start my painting. I think a picture of my cat in oriental style will do nicely!

Next month I’ll let you know how I got on and maybe I’ll be able to post my picture on this site – I wonder if you’ll hold me to that?! I’ll just have a cup of tea before I begin, then I must phone a friend to arrange a trip to Khobar tomorrow. I’d better start the picture tomorrow afternoon when I’ve got a bit more time. But then I’ve got a Spanish lesson early tomorrow evening. Oh well, there’s always the day after! Talk to you again soon.

~Britney B.