Posted 5th May 2020
John Hall, Volunteer
Watts Gallery – Artists' Village is supported by 250 volunteers who welcome people into the galleries and shop, give tours, support our learning programme and tend our beautiful grounds amongst many other things. We are keeping in touch with our extended family of volunteers whilst we aren't together. Here, volunteer John Hall talks about rediscovering an enjoyment of art and how he's using it to keep focused during the lockdown.
I started volunteering at Watts in the summer of 2015 shortly after the dreadful fire at Clandon Park, where I had volunteered since retiring early in 2010. I enjoyed the volunteering with the National Trust as I'm particularly interested in history and antiques. Coming to Watts was a natural progression after Clandon as I'm also very interested in art and live locally in Normandy.
I find the time I spend at the Artists' Village very rewarding as I enjoy meeting people, particularly when you see or sense how much they themselves are appreciating how much the Watts 'village' has to offer. I also find my time here continually broadens my knowledge of art in general and deepens my understanding of what George and Mary endeavoured to achieve through their artistic work.
Last year my adult children persuaded me to try drawing and painting, something I hadn't attempted since leaving school 49 years earlier!
Whilst I enjoyed dabbling at school, as the years passed by, I found the usual distractions of work, family etc leaving me with little motivation to pick up a pencil or brush (unless of course I was decorating).
But towards the end of 2019 I was eventually tempted and enrolled on a local art course in Godalming (Colourwheel). I was amazed at how much I learnt in the first 3 hours. Probably more than my whole time at school. The art teachers were excellent in demonstrating different styles and techniques using numerous mediums and materials.
It really gave me a much deeper understanding and appreciation of just how good professional artists were and are. I also found that I could enjoy and appreciate many more artistic styles than I had time for previously.
With the current 'lock down' I find myself looking forward each day to a new challenge, attempting to use different materials and styles. I set aside a couple of hours each day and the time just flies by. The art group I was in are keeping in touch on WhatsApp (no pun intended!) and we share our daily attempts.
I would certainly recommend to anyone who had a long-lost hobby or interest to try rekindling it as it has certainly worked for me and if you've never tried something before why not give it a try now!