In Praise of Nina’s Zoomers: Part 1
MIKE YEARSLEY has been a mainstay of the Haverfordwest-based VC Gallery’s art group, Nina’s Zoomers. We asked him to tell us about the experience and what it has meant for him, and he came back with some lovely examples of his work and how valuable the VC project has been…
Over to Mike:
I was born in Usk in 1953. Living in Monmouth I developed my artistic career under the influence of my old art teacher Otto Macaig who was a well-known local artist. I did A-level art and went on to study architecture at Bristol University and qualified as an RIBA architect in 1977. From there I worked for a local authority and a housing association before running my own business.
I retired in 2019 and became interested in art again after watching Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting on TV during the first lockdown. This encouraged me to join a local art class where I met, among others, Helen O’Sullivan who is related to Nina Camplin and who told me about Nina’s Zoom art classes. I, along with other class members of the local art class in lockdown joined what became known as ‘Nina’s Zoomers’ just before Christmas 2020 and we have remained members ever since.
We instantly bonded with Nina’s founder Zoom members and together we have all benefited greatly from Nina’s wonderful teaching of her artistic skills and techniques. With the ending of our local art class, a group of eight of us decided to continue with Nina’s Zoom art sessions in a nearby local community hall, with lockdown having ended and face-to-face group gatherings allowed to start up again. We now have 10 members and it is anticipated that during the autumn months ahead new members will be joining our sessions from within the ‘Art Lovies’ WhatsApp group that represents our past and current membership.
Upon the Art Lovies joining Nina’s Zoomers, a good deal of early 2021 relied entirely upon Nina’s Zoom sessions as we were in lockdown. Our love of art and the inspiration generated by Nina’s sessions meant we soon bonded as a strong collective worldwide group. Not only that but it also brought a wonderful sense of togetherness in what was at that time a strange climate of not being able to go out and meet face-to-face due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Nina’s Zoom sessions provided its members with a ‘stay safe at home’ environment that provided relaxation, enjoyment and, more importantly, the setting aside of the woes of the pandemic for a few precious hours. The truly wonderful creativity that Nina coaxed out of us all that we didn’t know we had hidden within ourselves is something I personally will never forget and will always be grateful to Nina for. I know I speak for all the other members in this respect as they have conveyed the same feelings.
Nina has been the catalyst in all of this with her truly amazing approach during each inspirational weekly Zoom session. So much so that in my opinion, Nina’s Zoomers can now proudly consider themselves as accomplished artisans – particularly after her Bob Ross Zoom session of a forest scene which is one of the most popular sessions Nina has put on to date, as all renditions turned out to be stunning.
Each week seems to get better and better and is a ‘must attend and look forward to’ on all of our calendars. Members absolutely hate not being able to attend and look forward to everyone’s postings on the Brightside Facebook Group page. I’m sure the VC Gallery and its sponsors must be proud of Nina’s work in this respect; and the fact that it has kept going for so long and beyond lockdown is testimony to her fantastic work ethic and talent.
Nina’s inspiring subject matter has ranged from seasonal paintings, landscapes and old masters (such as Cézanne, van Gogh, Monet) to animals and flowers.It has also covered different artistic styles (including cubism, pointillism, impressionism, street art). We have also experimented with using multiple techniques such as acrylics, watercolour, spray paints, oil paints, collage, stencils, pastels, felt-tip pens, crayons and wash.
There seems to be no end to Nina’s amazing talent!
To be continued. (Look out for Mountain Mike meets Amy Owl…)