The Princess Diaries by Joy Fahey (2)
Day 2 of The Princess Diaries – The Terrace
My nerves weren’t so bad today. I’d got a measure of what was what, so felt a bit more relaxed. Silly really, I mean the Princess is just another woman after all; the crazy perception of ‘having’ to be or behave in a certain way just because she’s a Princess doesn’t make sense really. Don’t get me wrong I respect her position but then that respect should really be for everyone shouldn’t it? I think I need a bit of time to think about that!
I arrived on time but this time I was greeted at the double fornted, mental studded, gigantic wooden front door by the butler, I must have made a good impression yesterday!! Anyway he led me through the big hallway and an enormous drawing room, which was very dark as all the shutters were closed, out onto the very bright terrace!!
Everything had been moved from the pool house to the far end if the terrace underneath a large orange awning. It was much hotter out here but lovely to have the view of the garden. Again I was brought some juice and water by the same lady as yesterday who shyly said hello to me. And this little ritual seemed to be the general routine of each day.
As I waited for the Princess to arrive I had time to enjoy and take in the vastness of the garden and indeed the terrace. There were 4 six seater sofas, a coffee table the size of my sitting room, beautiful rugs scattered on the terracotta floor tiles and a huge television screen.
None of this really phazed me particularly as I had been in many big houses and villas, actually my parents, who ran a charity, many moons ago, like in the 1970’s, lived in a ‘hall’ where the charity was based. That had countless bedrooms and fabulous gardens, a long tree lined drive to the grand front door etc, etc. They didn’t own it, even though my mother would try not to admit that infact it belonged to the charity! But they lived there for many years and without fail enjoyed the grandeur of doing so! I did too for a very short time and have to add that I had my wedding recepition there, which at the time was quite a monumental affair, but I might keep that story for another time! Back to the Princesses villa, it just intrigued me!! Well better to say the whole ‘Royal’ thing intrigued me!
So today I felt more relaxed as I had a better idea of what to expect. The Princess was again very welcoming and told me her other son and daughter-in-law and baby grandson were arriving at the weekend and she wanted to be near them on the terrace.
She expressed that she wanted to find a way of painting that would give her a sense of freedom. Um very interesting I thought, and actually through all the lessons the ‘freedom theme’ was paramount. From a completely different perspective I know that feeling only too well. I would come to understand in more depth later why the Princess felt so strongly about this subject.
We sat down at the big round table already covered with a plastic table cloth I started her off with just play drawing, like doodling, just to warm up and have some fun. We laughed at the childlike drawings we both did but it helped to loosen up and move into the creative side of the brain. I’m all for ‘right brain drawing and painting’
The Princess was intrigued ‘What’s the difference between the right and the left side of the brain?’ I was pleased she’d asked me the question as it’s such an interesting subject and applies not only to art but everything really, it also happens to be one of my favourite subjects!! So I continued.
‘The left hand side of the brain tends to be associated with the intellect and the right side the creative side. A lot of the time we all have a tendency to think too much, which is from the left hand side. It thinks that it knows what something is, especially when it comes to drawing, not to mention life! Our perceptions from this thinking can tend to get in the way and prevent us from looking at ‘what really is’. This perception would have us think we already know’ The Princess was laughing ‘yes I understand’ she giggled.
I carried on ‘So by loosening up and doodling it feels ok, as our left side, which usually has a perception that a drawing ‘should’ look like something, sees it as just playing and therefore doesn’t judge it right or wrong. This gives the right side, the creative side time to kick in! She seemed to like this brief explanation!
It’s always surprising to see what occurs in a doodle, patterns and shapes appear and defining some of the shapes you can find interesting eyes or faces, animals, buildings, seascapes and much more. Allowing creativity to unfold is very releasing and absorbing, you can easily get lost in the process. Actually medical tests have shown that drawing and painting can seriously reduce stress! The relaxed atmosphere working with the Princess certainly seemed to relax my nerves and anxiety of teaching such an important person!
After doing a few drawings it was time to start some actual painting. The Princess decided on the colours and I suggested we experiment with, what I call ‘the flow method’ which is a continuation of keeping in the right side of the brain!
I mixed the chosen colours in different containers with some water so they are quite fluid and put the canvas on the covered table so if some of the paint dripped off the edges it didn’t matter. I do the same in my studio. I put a big sheet of plastic down on the floor so I can make a mess and it doesn’t matter. I didn’t think we could make that much mess on the Princesses terrace however! But I was wrong as she summoned one of the servants to bring another plastic cover to put under the table!! She was obviously up for having some fun!
Slowly using the different containers the Princess started adding the colours tilting the canvas in different directions the colours began to blend and wonderful patterns started to happen. She really enjoyed experimenting adding different tones to build up different thicknesses and flow. She seemed to get really carried away with it and laughed at what was happening. Having completed the first stage we had to let the first coat dry but already it had begun to take shape.
Thinking about it afterwards I laughed to myself as I wondered what she had expected and what she actually did! It certainly broke the ice and was fun and interesting and she seemed to enjoy herself!
I was invited for lunch again so I must have done something right!
Let’s see what’s tomorrow brings but so far so good!
‘Where Art and Life Meet’
Written and published by: Joy Fahey
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