It all began with me couriering an artwork to Melbourne, as three of my son’s planned trips to New Zealand were cancelled through Covid, and I had intended to pass this over to him when he came. The artwork was intended as a gift when they’d finished house renovations, a year or so back, but I have been a bit slack. You see, I had promised him that I’d do an artwork as a house-warming gift. I did get as far as sketching the idea, but then I just didn’t get around to doing it. That dratted procrastination thing again. But, when I spotted a print in an art store window, by an old tutor of mine, I knew it was the perfect present, and I brought it immediately. I packed it securely for travel, and sent it off to Melbourne last Monday, anxious about it surviving the trip. I was thrilled when Duncan phoned to say that it had arrived safely and he and Harriet just loved it. I got to talk with my granddaughters too, which was great, as It has been a long time since I’ve seen any of them. Then, Beatrix the eight year old said, “Can you draw a sloth for me, NaniViv?”
I laughed, thinking about all the things I’ve been asked to draw in my lifetime. To date, tractors for a retiring farmer were the most obscure, where I had sat en plein air on his property and sketched three tractors in various stages of repair. The farmer had loved the finished drawings, so that turned out well. I’ve drawn sea creatures, cats, dogs, a tuatara and even a moa, but never a sloth. But “yes” I told my charming granddaughter, and remembering how I’d not kept my promise to her dad about that artwork, I set to work on her sloth drawing immediately. Mid-sketch, I heard over the radio that Covid was in our community, something New Zealand had avoided for many months. Worse news was that it was right here, in our village. But, I continued drawing, pleased that I was making a young girl happy. And she was. I posted an image to Beatrix yesterday.
Today, I had another drawing to do; a sketch of daisies I had promised for Beatrix’s sister, Phemie. So, soon after breakfast I began work, while listening to the radio for more Covid news. I had told Phemie I’d make hers a watercolour, but let’s just say that didn’t start well. Out with that page, and into my drawing pad where I quickly sketched a second field of daisies. As I’ve often said, I prefer pencils; so graphite and colour pencils for the daisies this time. Plus pen. I was reasonably pleased with the outcome, yet the drawing of the sloth pleased me more. I could give the creature character, which was missing in the flowers. Then, it dawned on me that I might have mis-heard Phemie when she had asked for a daisy drawing. Why? Because Daisy is the name of their cat! A quick text to Melbourne to settle the question.
The outcome is, that Phemie loves her daisy sketch, but I am at liberty to do a drawing of her cat too. You just never know when a gift of art can escalate into something else entirely. I am just so happy to have this sweet project to work on during this time of lockdown. May you all have good projects to work on, to get you through any difficult times. Best wishes, Vivienne.