The last week has been fascinating not only because we've been inspired and taught by one of the modern masters of watercolour but because of all the other elements that go to make a memorable experience.
The smooth running of an event of this kind relies on all of the preparation that takes place before hand and for that we all have the estimable Jane Duke to thank. She does all of the thankless tasks so well and is always available to assist from the day she first advertises the event till its conclusion. Thanks Jane.
The next person to mention is the 'Queen' herself, Judy, or Mrs. Reid as she is sometimes known. Judy is a very special lady who has the knack of making everything work around Charles so he can concentrate on his painting and his teaching. She does this by orchestrating proceedings in such a way that every participant has fair access to the expertise of Charles. All of this she does with an engaging sense of humour and unfailing generosity.
The Regal Wave
Most of the rest of this post will be devoted to showing off the lovely bunch of people that congregated to work with Charles. It is a tribute to the quality of the experience that a number of these are people who have worked with Charles on a number of occasions. Even more impressive is the fact that a number of them are also professional artists.
Apologies to those about whom I've got scant biographical details but rest assured that I have nothing but happy memories of you all.
Paul and Jennifer (The Swansea Stopper)
Paul, a Home Counties lad, now living in Cornwall producing great images. Jennifer an accomplished painter whose husband made some interesting ale discoveries on this trip.
Gilles and Jo with Lynne.
Gilles is a fabulous artist from Crolles in France and his workbooks are a visual delight. Jo is a North Easterner on missionary duty in the South. Lynne appears below.
A talented young artist who received a prestigious award for a work of hers while she was attending the course. She also had an educational epiphany as she discovered the works of Warren Zevon and Ry Cooder while travelling with two ageing hippies.
A serious artist currently working in Cornwall. She has worked with Charles before and is always delightful company.
Another long term fan of Charles who makes her sensitive images in Jersey
Chomolungma, Mother Goddess of the Earth. Latifa has attended a number of Charles' courses and is exceptional at looking after everyone. Great to see her again.
Jenny and Peter.
Peter is my painting buddy from the other end of the country who shares a series of monthly challenges with me, (when I'm getting time to paint) and Jenny is his wife. They kindly looked after me on my lengthy journey to Cornwall. Thanks to you both for your kindness.
Brenda and Jane
Brenda is a first time student with Charles. It was great to see her rise above her initial apprehension with very high quality work. It got even better when she discovered the efficacy of using decent sable brushes.
Jane and her husband, Ian are long term friends of Charles and are both accomplished artists. Not to mention the fact that they have one of the finer sock collections.
Jane, it is, who makes it all possible. Without her we'd not have the smooth organisation and effective administration. On top of that she's a well regarded artist with a flourishing career.
Ian is a real original as an artist, highly skilled with a real sense of humour that translates into wonderful whimsical works.
A first timer from Yorkshire who brought her husband to model for the rest of us. He's also a big Richard Thompson fan. Frances is a fine painter.
A fine artist from New York who I was meeting for the second time. It's always a surprise to see how far people will travel to work with Charles.
My Blues Brother for the week. A talented illustrator who has worked in Paris for the last ten years. He originally hails from the US. We had a lot of laughs and shared a lot of music.
The Keeper of the Duck. Doreen is a long term friend of the Reids having organised their first trips to England. Those familiar with the still life work of Charles will know that duck decoys make regular appearances. In England they usually appear from Doreen's handbag.
A Charles Reid course is an experience and I feel privileged to have attended two of these events. Charles is going to reduce the number of teaching engagements that he does and the opportunities to work with him will diminish. There is an intensity to the work and study that lifts these courses way beyond the usual course/ holiday that many courses appear to be. It is no surprise that many professional artists value the chance to hone their skills with Charles. The standard of the artists in Crantock was very high and I felt really stretched for the whole week. Hopefully, I can build on the lessons learned in the next few weeks.