Watercolour classes resume next week, so it is time to get started here. I dug up a moist half-frozen handful of these early garden lovelies, settled them in a dollar store ceramic pot and brought them into the house to paint their portrait. My approach is always analytical - first the drawing, then a groundwork of faint colour, then preliminary shadows and shading, followed by more colour, more intense shadows and shading, layers of fine glazes, until the whole approaches a finished state. Time slips by and the bars of sunlight move across the table - my ideal studio would have western exposure for a longer visit with the sun - and still the snowdrops need finishing details, the green markings inside the bells of the flowers, the fine stripes on the leaves, beads of moisture here and there, until finally it seems complete. There is never time enough in a two-hour art class to get to this final polished look, except in a very small painting. And art teachers never tell their students to paint small!