Several years ago, my online world introduced me to a lady called Erin.

I discovered that Erin runs sketching holidays from her homeland of Australia, and was just starting to plan tours to somewhere in the south of France.  We became Facebook friends, and that, for the moment, was that.

coffee with Erin Fast forward to Spring 2016 and Erin is visiting France. I had given her some links to resources she might find useful and she suggested it would be good to finally meet in person. So I met Erin and her husband, Milton, for coffee at the local bar.

During our brief chat she mentioned she would be running a short workshop at one of the venues I’d mentioned – the lovely Domaine Paul Huc in Fabrezan.

Milton explained that the sketching classes are so effective that Erin gets people producing great results in no time at all.   Er hello?!  Could this could be just what I needed to re-acquaint myself with a paintbrush?

I immediately put the date in my diary – just in case.

The day arrived.  I dusted off my ‘watercolour gear’ and turned up in Fabrezan that Monday morning feeling extremely curious and slightly nervous. I had no idea what to expect, and when I discovered we’d be sketching a pot plant I have to admit my heart sank … memories of boring still life studies at school suddenly started to come flooding back.

Our group – mostly ladies, were all strangers to me. We briefly compared notes; some declared no artistic ability at all, some were already experienced artists, and some of us (well me at least) have been known to dabble with a paintbrush, but rarely have the time.

Erin showed us her little travel sketchbook and took us through some of the very basics of her technique.   She’s infectiously enthusiastic, and the hours flew by in silence as we recreated our own versions of the pot plant on paper. What I thought might be a tedious exercise was actually a lot of fun.

As the morning drew to a close we all compared our final sketches and compliments were flying round the table. The mood in the room had lifted beyond measure – it felt as if everyone had left their list of daily worries and household chores at the door. For a very short moment in time, sketching had taken over.

A few hours later I came away from the workshop feeling so inspired I did another sketch as soon as I got home.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working one-to-one with Erin, which has been an amazing opportunity and sketching is definitely back in my life.

As it turns out, in more ways than one!