I'm a National Trust volunteer! Specifically, for the gallery rooms at Mottisfont. I like the variety and the number of people involved. At first I felt like I was in a gentle fly-on-the-wall series about daily life at a National Trust house, with problems cropping up, sudden meetings, rainy rose gardens and rounds of tea.
I've worked on hanging and taking down shows; sorting files; building dens on the children's trail; staking ropes out along the river; painting posts...
On a quiet day last week a couple of us just went on a ramble around the extensive estate (which is reached by walking across fields and down lanes). Now, though, the head curator is back from a holiday, so I was asked to research the art galleries of the country and have ideas. Even if they weren't much use, I now have a personal list of exhibitions to see.
The Three Tuns pub wanted a new flyer for their Summer campaign. This gave me an excuse to visit, after a gap of many years, and find details to bring into the artwork.
As requested, it's all about English things, Summer, local pubs and celebration. I had fun drawing some of Romsey's buildings (the abbey, the corn exchange, King John's house, Broadlands and the English Court) and including flora (nettles, dock, cow parsley, lupins...) and fauna (cygnets, slugs) and the most ridiculous cake I could come up with - which I then brought into reality.
Some extra influence came from "Colourful Romsey" - a lovely compilation of film from the 1940s and 50s. With ideas to spare, I could happily go on drawing Romsey.
To top it off, I was, for the first time, on a train that stopped at Dean, where a big sign reads
WELCOME TO HAMPSHIRE
WHERE PARTNERSHIP WORKS
I think it's about trains, but let's give it a try.