I found art very late in life, at the start of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown period, as a result of making a snap decision in replying to a normally very tricky annual question from my wife: "What would you like for your Chirstmas?". My wife and I were on a shopping trip to Galway at the time, and I said that I'd always wished I could paint but I'd never tried. We decided to go to Cregal Art in Galway and have a look, and after buying a basic set of art materials for gouche watercolour painting, I was prepared for a new venture

My 2019 Christmas present lay unused until mid-January 2020, as both my wife and I were laid low with bouts of Flu over Christmas and New Year. When I eventually decided to have a go in mid-January, I'd no idea what I was going to try and paint. Sitting in my office, looking onto the back garden, the bird feeders were being thronged by a host of hungry birds, and I decided to try painting a blue tit. I used a photograph on the internet as my sitter, sketched the outline in light pencil and set about painting the blue tit shown below 


I was more than a little surprised to see this little bird grow from the paper, and after a few hours it was complete. It was exciting and I quickly painted a further 3 garden birds, one on each of the next 3 days, as shown above. In order, they were goldfinch, chaffinch and greenfinch. After only 4 days into my new pastime my style looked to be set to near realism, and I had really enjoyed painting fine detail with small brushes. My first 4 paintings were framed within days and hung on the kitchen wall..Thanks for reading my story

Bill Godfrey, Co Mayo

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