Small group travel leads to close friendships. Long hours together in a vehicle travelling through unfamiliar territory, along with shared passions and the many light-hearted moments we have along the way often creates very special bonds which continue long after the trip has ended.
For many people, one Vistas sketching holiday is not enough once the bug has bitten and I’m always delighted to welcome familiar faces onto the trips. Occasionally, someone who is already a close friend or acquaintance decides they would like to learn to paint, improve their skills or just to explore a new place while trying their hand at sketching. On occasion they come along primarily to take photographs and end up as unofficial ‘trip photographer’! Then once in a while, a very dear friend decides she wants to take up painting. She also would like to travel more, meet new people, do something exciting for a special birthday. And she decides to come with me.
A beautiful, kind, gentle soul; compassionate, warm and funny, intelligent and hard working and displaying such promise with her art: I was so very happy to have Clare along on two separate occasions. We had adventures and giggles, made new friends. She learned quickly, did some beautiful sketches and would have done much more. Devastatingly, our trip together in March was her last, and she was cruelly snatched away from us just a few weeks ago. With the grief still raw, I can’t seem to focus on any other subject for this month’s update. So with her family and partner’s permission, I am dedicating this post to her, to the smiles she brought to us, to the beauty she created with her painting, and all she would have gone on to create. (In addition, she contributed a great deal to the marine conservation effort in Scotland through her work, and it would not be fitting to leave this unmentioned. I am so very proud of her).
Clare: You will be appreciated, cherished and missed always, but through your paintings you live on.