A Herbology Lesson, and an art lesson

“And remember the delicate wand movement we’ve been practising for the Severing Charm; you don’t want to harm your Bowtr—Mr Scamander, what are you doing?”


There’s a scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where the second-years are given shrubs with bowtruckles in them, and have to use Severing Charms to get the creatures off. I suspect Newt wouldn’t even need a wand. As opposed to some of his more enthusiatic classmates.

Watercolour on Canson cold-pressed paper, app. 17×22 cm.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will have noticed that there was extremely little art this year – and almost none between May and October. I did a few things, but wasn’t very happy with them; this has by far been the longest art slump I have ever experienced in my life.

A lot, I think, had to do with the class I took with SmArt School last year, paradoxically – in retrospect, I think that one thing it did was to show me how far I was from where I wanted to be, and where most others from my class were, and that added to the creative hiatus because whatever I tried to get to where I wanted to be, I didn’t get there.

Inktober proved to be a welcome ladder out of that slump. I had hoped that it would be, and the outcome surpassed my wildest dreams. The main, huge takeaway of Inktober for me was that I can do art every day. And it was small, quick art that I could pour my soul into, not huge, intricate portfolio pieces that occupied – and frustrated – me for a week or two, as many of my class works have done.

Using music to focus was another thing that has proven wildly successful. I even reorganised my desk to make it easier for me to feel tidy and ready.


So not even a day passed after Inktober before I whipped out the watercolours again – and I found that somehow, my brain had kept working all these months, even if my hands at not.

Art is incredible – you can level up without playing the game. This isn’t the first time that has happened to me, but it’s been the clearest example of this I have had yet. I knew how I wanted this piece to turn out. In fact, I had wanted my art to turn out like this for more than a year, and was frustrated when it didn’t work. Now, after lying by the roadside for a while, suddenly all fell into place.

Art is a curious thing. I’m glad I have it back again.