Dilston Grove

Today was the first 2015 session of Seniors Art School at Dilston Grove, Southwark Park. Well, the daffs are showing off through the railings and, of course, it’s school Easter holidays so all the parents, buggies, scooters, toddlers , babies. kiddies and dogs were out splattering colour across manicured grass bits.

In a posh place by a concrete church was a group of older people all warmed up nicely with a cuppa and raring to revitalise the art in them. It’s free. It’s a workshop.

Two experienced artists in the community led us fourteen students (three from Up Your Street thanks to Bridget Virden) by encouraging us to feel and relate to works of art in the exhibition inspired by Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons”(1914) . This text is free to read online. Just Google her name.

Oh we had lots to say and it was all honest stuff for, let me tell you, we had not read the press release and the artspeke yet.

Time went swiftly but we were managed well. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine it was time to go into linear narratives, charcoal and fixatives, pencils and knee-jerk marks on kitchen paper to thrown-out words so we drew space and heaviness, tenderness and something else. We’d listened to the words of Stein but gathered no clue from them. We knew we were exploring the unexpected. No-one was judging anything.

A few of us thought we were being treated like primary school children but our age group is on the ear for that always and get over it before you can say Jack Kerouac.

One has to book for these workshops and the next session is for two days in May.

I love the journey down on the East London Line to Surrey Quays. Just love passing new Haggerston, new Hoxton and my beloved Wapping with its glinting river and boats. Surrey Quays has nothing except Southwark Park. Am I wrong?

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