Friday, 9 December 2011

Santa's Green Elf

Christmas is nearly here and it looks like its going to be another crazy one too, what with anti Coca-Cola green Santas rebelling against Cokes traditional grab of the nations childrens milk teeth, Panto dames banned from throwing sweets, Lollypop ladies not allowed to wear fancy dress to work (amazing that one, I would have thought motorists would soon slow down at the sight of a giant chicken!). the annual festive killjoy's list seems endless.
Quite a number of years ago, I worked for a large corporation. Over the years, the job I enjoyed became more and more engulfed in health and safety. Most days seemed like wading through thick treacle.
At Christmas each year, some brave soul would scale a highpoint in the factory and place a tiny tree with lights on. This annual tradition was finally banned after it was felt by higher management that the lights would distract passing train drivers!
How I longed to get away from all this and would often stare out of the office window and dream of becoming an artist.
When I finally left, I felt that at last I was free from petty bureaucracy and could follow a more enjoyable path.
Unfortunately, I have noticed over the last year or so how the tendrils of interfering officials has crept into the artworld. I am now regularily asked to provide an electrical safety certificate for my hairdryer and overhead lamp. This is quite comforting as once the clip on the lamp gave way, hit me on the head, flinging the bottle of ink out of my hand and over a nearby audience member. The black stain on the carpet tile was carefully swapped for a cleaner one under a bookcase. The woman was less easy to placate as she had just emerged from Marks and Spencers having bought the most expensive suit in the store to come to see my demonstration. She wanted compensation from the art group.. thank goodness for my PAT certificate!!
At another village hall I was instructed to open and close all the firedoors to check they were working correctly. This felt a bit like striking all the matches in the box to see if they worked...
 I was even  recently asked to provide a safety assessment on a drawing class!
I'm not sure what dangers a pencil and paper posed the student, however, after much thought and drawing upon my experience from my previous career, I decided to warn the student not to hold the pencil the wrong way around as a sudden movement could result in the loss of an eye! Paper cuts could easily turn septic, resulting in possible blood poisoning and amputation!
It's a good job it wasn't a watercolour class, I dread to think how many souls could be drowned in a bucket of water!
So here's wishing you a Happy Christmas and don't forget that my book 'How to Paint Flowers in Acrylics'  is just days away from being available to buy;

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