Caroline Furlong had only studied art O level when at school and dabbled slightly, when, for a certain special birthday present her partner gave her a surprise weekend away at Flatford Mill. This was a Watercolour for the absolute beginner course and he managed to get her booked in to the accommodation, still none the wiser, with just 10 minutes to go before course check in time. Little did he know where this would lead.
Caroline loved the course at Flatford so much that she booked on a few more in the years that followed. Then came some bad news, she was being made redundant from the local company where she worked. Doom and gloom was the order of the day, even when Caroline was on another course at Flatford (already paid for before the news), and the Flatford tutor asked her what was up, so she told him.
Gerald Green (the Flatford listening tutor and famous artist from Warwickshire) saw water-colourist potential in Caroline and told her so. He also suggested that since she had natural talent and bags of personality that she ought to try teaching the medium. With this in mind, Caroline rented a room in Haddenham village hall for one morning a week and put some posters around the village. A little gathering arrived each Wednesday morning and Caroline began a regular art class. During the year, however, the cost of the room increased each time she renewed the booking and it became too expensive to continue using.
To add to increasing family pressures her partner was then also made redundant. Luckily, an unusual conservatory was being made at home by her partner and he used his gardening leave and redundancy money to finish the project with more than a twist. The interior was fitted out to become a studio for Caroline with space for seven students which is a nice number, so that all her students benefit from plenty of attention from herself and the home-made cakes! A second watercolour class was added to the art weeks and Caroline resumed the occasional weekend away at Flatford where she made a good friend Linda Series, another student (now showing regularly at a gallery in Great Dunmow). Caroline and Linda then approached Flatford with a suggestion. Nothing was heard for a year and then bingo. Flatford booked them as tutors for some residential weekends, teaching a number of different aspects of watercolour painting. The new Flatford brochure is listing them again and had included them every year since 2012.
Caroline grew in confidence and her watercolour ability is growing at a rapid rate. She is now running workshops for art groups, giving demonstrations to art societies, promoting products for companies and running events for shops as well as showing in galleries.
Caroline loves painting, both indoors and out. It does not matter whether it is of flora, fauna or something not girlie like at all. If it captures her imagination or even originates entirely from it, then out come the brushes and she is away. Her favourite topics though are landscapes, street scenes and coastal areas.
Facebook: carolinefurlong (caroline.furlong.33)