This year’s group were all – bar one – beginners, or at least painters who hadn’t picked up a brush for a very long time. In fact, one of them was being gently and imaginatively tipped back into art: her husband had bought the course for her as a surprise Christmas present (what a legend!). Over the week, wobbly first attempts took shape, odd blobs of paint gained texture, and by the end there were some striking and admirable paintings on show.
The locations were mainly the same as last year: painting under the raintree near the Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort, going down to the harbor and painting Nawi Island, and taking a trip to the side of the island on the Hibiscus Highway. This last spot was where the damage from Cyclone Winston back in February was still evident in some fallen raintrees and damaged buildings, but generally the beauty of the landsape and the rich luxuriance of the foliage was untouched.
Amongst the many comments on the week one was memorable above all the others. “It’s the first workshop I haven’t come back from in tears – or close to it – in a long time,” she said. “Elena is such a wonderful and encouraging teacher; she never makes you feel as though you’ve been stupid and she always makes sure you keep up with the demonstration. It was the best I’ve been on.”