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Becoming a lady painter

Taking a painting holiday in Tuscany

by Bernadette Fallon

Can you paint watercolours using makeup brushes? I certainly hope so - I've packed four for my painting holiday in Tuscany, have you seen the price of paintbrushes in art shops? I wasn't familiar myself with the price of anything in art shops up until three days ago, when a very helpful man who clearly knew what he was doing - at least one of us did - took the list I'd been sent by the tutor and found everything I needed. Things like masking fluid, Burnt Sienna and an eraser. I haven't owned an eraser since I was 8.

I'm off to the Watermill in Posara, Tuscany, for a week-long watercolour course, hoping the 26-year gap since I last owned a sketchbook (art class in secondary school) won't be a handicap. The website says this painting holiday course is suitable for beginners and experienced painters alike. I'm seriously about to put the 'beginners' claim to the test.

I had planned to do a bit of painting before I left to 'brush up' my skills. Wishful thinking. I'm now pulling price stickers off my sparkling new kit and hoping that people don't laugh at my landscapes. I could always pretend I was deliberately going for the five-year-old-does-colouring-in look. And even Damien Hirst had to start somewhere.

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