Participant Blog – Anna Robb

Today we hear from Anna Robb who finally took the plunge and joined in with our FADD project in 2020 and then again this year!

I have been looking at Fun A Day Instagram posts for a few years now, admiring the work of others and thinking that I couldnt take part because I wasn’t skilled enough. Then last year, a friend and I were chatting and we decided to take the plunge and support each other.

It was a fabulous experience! January is such a dreary month and so it gave me something to look forward to each day and at the end of it I had a collection of artworks to be proud of. The supportive community of artists and makers was also a lovely surprise, boosting confidence and providing an opportunity to meet new people! Sadly the pandemic hit and so my 31 collages never made it out to a face-to-face exhibition, but it was good that they were live in the virtual realm, and I had enjoyed making them.

This year, I’d decided I wouldn’t take part because the year itself had been way more challenging than anyone could have predicted. It required more commitment than I could give. However, Christmas felt pretty bleak really and by the 30th December I thought I needed to bring some joy back into my life. Taking part in Fun A Day Dundee would give me a focus to get through January, and I knew that once I started creating it would give me a mini- escape from the news and the problems of the world. So, I signed up!

For FADD 2021, I decided I wanted to practice my drawing skills. I also wanted to bring in lots of bright colour into my life to combat the weather and the news. I decided to unearth an old box of cheap oil pastels to see what I could do with them. Initially I thought I would keep the drawings small but quickly realised that I wanted to go big, so I ordered 2 A3 drawing pads, one in white and one in black. In the end I decided to draw on the black as I preferred the effect of the saturated oil pastel colour against the dark background.

The problem was what to draw that wouldn’t require lots of inspiration each day. Having done this before, I knew it has to be something easy, achievable and something I could fit around the working day without it feeling too onerous. I love clothes and shoes but I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out during lockdown. I realised that I needed to get rid of stuff but I was holding onto a lot because they brought back happy memories! By drawing them, I had a record of the item and the memory that could be stored away easily, clearing some space at the same time. So for FADD 2021 I started with my shoes.

Turns out I’m an utter shoeaholic, and easily had a new shoe to draw for every day in January. Drawing every night became such a pleasure because I was able to relive happy memories attached to each show – I was taken back to all-nighters in Fat Sam’s, weddings of best friends, walks on beaches around the UK and carafes of wine in the city squares of Ital and Spain. It was the perfect way to escape a miserable lockdown during a grueling winter! I loved picking the colour palette for each show, trying to make it as lively and positive as possible. I also began to notice that the way I approached the task each night was changing and my observation skills were improving. Practice, practice, practice really does make a difference – a little and often.

I now have 31 drawings of shoes in a large file, which brings me a lot of pleasure when I leaf through its pages. The sense of achievement at the end is also great. The FADD community was alive and kicking throughout and I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s efforts in the online exhibition! Turns out a daily dose of art, therapy and nostalgia was just what was needed at the start of this year – still haven’t managed to clear out the shoes yet though!

Thanks Anna! All photos used in this post were from her 2021 project. You can find Anna on Instagram here.

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