Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Slurp Down Your Tea Girl, And Get On With Life for the exhibition A Graceful Death, paintings from the end of a life

Pot Of Tea, And Blinking Well Take The World By Storm

Here is the tea.  Here is the Reason To Get Up in the morning.  You may be interested and thrilled to see the new teacosy I made, after Eileen set fire to the last one.  Eileen, for those who have not followed the narrative, is my supremely talented Photographer friend who has no gall bladder.  Briefly, in past postings on this blog, we were told that the Chinese link gall bladders and liver to something like Thwarted and Unfulfilled Lives, and to Anger.  We don't know if this is true, but we liked the thought of the already peaceful and gentle Eileen becoming Godlike, with the removal of her gall bladder making her almost Zen-like without a trace of bad temper.  We are watching Eileen too, to see if she shoots, smiling and nodding like the Pope, to new heights of achievement without the frustrating influence of her gall bladder keeping her down.

So, above is the Tray Of Tea that Starts The Day.  I can't function without tea, and I can't cope without tea in a teapot with a teacosy and full cream milk.  Have these things ready when I come to visit, and I will be yours forever.  Tea wise.

Now for the Studio. 

This is where I am now, at the computer, and where I will go and paint some pictures in a minute.  The trampoline is there because 13 Year Old Son can't keep still.  He put the trampoline right in front of the doors to the TV room so that he can watch telly while jumping.  He has been watching the football, and saw it like a reel of film that has not quite joined together properly. A second in the air, a second down and watching the match.  A second in the air, a second down and watching the match.  This is excellent for 13 Year Old Son who has shown real intelligence in understanding his compulsive fidgeting and thrashing about,  coping with a sedentary thing like TV while doing cartwheels on the trampoline outside.

More news -

  • The French Student has left.  He tried to go home last week but had to come back because of an air traffic controllers strike in France.  We welcomed him back with relief, because he is so nice to have in the house and he can do back flips on the trampoline.  He left on Sunday morning, still without complaint, and is home we think, because he has not come back here.  He was a lovely fellow to have in the house and we hope he will come back and let us adopt him.

  • The Muppet turned a year older on Sunday.  We had a party on Brighton Beach and a Barbeque at 20 Year Old Daughter's flat after.  We had lots of people, most of them family, and all of them Salt of the Earth.  We can, if we want, fill the Emirates Staduim with family.  We are Legion and all pretty fab too.

  • Arty Man Who Makes Films and Whizzes About is fun to have around.  His lovely Ginger Best Friend made us a cake yesterday which was Chocolate and therefore Fab.

  • I have four new pairs of glasses coming!  I am so excited that I will have to eat the rest of the Chocolate Cake.  I lost all my glasses and can't see my work, so I expect that it is quite impressionist and abstract.  I will have two pairs of Studio Glasses, one pair of Driving Glasses and one pair of Driving Sun Glasses!  Wow!  I know!  How about that!  Jealous?  Thought so.
Now a big Arty Excitement.  The Rev Rachel Mann has agreed to a portrait of her as the Rock Chick Angel of the North.  She is the Rock Chick Angel of the North.  Her portrait will be such a celebration of her energy and personal drive and success over terrible illness.  And her undoubted contribution to the lives of those she touches in her Ministry.  I can't wait.

And, Rev Rachel Mann is going to have A Graceful Death for a couple of weeks in her church in Feb 2011.  She and her church have shown great courage in showing it in the church itself, and I am grateful.  I will go and see the Church and Rachel and her Guitars in September and the world will shake on its axis.

I and my boys are away this weekend with the Glorious Clarissa.  We are away next weekend too, camping with the Glorious Clarissa and her lovely girls.  Soon we all go to Ireland to visit our lovely Irish Friends who let us stay with them at their cottage by the sea in Arklow.  Every year I know I have to go in the sea.  It had become a Thing, and if I don't the sky will fall down.  The sea is terribly terribly cold and I hate the cold.  But I love Ireland and my friends and so I have to gear myself up, select a small square of sea to enter, do as the Beserkers used to do in order to build themselves into a frenzy before battle (they used to chew on their shields I am told, and probably lots of other things too)  ( I will chew on 13 Year Old Son who will be standing next to me making sure that I don't cheat) , and spend half a day going in slowly watched distainfully by the seals who love the cold water and feel superior.

I have to finish Alan's lovely Mum in the Angels At A Celestial Bustop today, and start on the Secret Birthday Commission.  I have also to find the Muppet's passport to renew it before we go away.  He is very thoughtful and vague about it, which doesn't help. 

However, into the studio to paint now.  Hoorah.  But before I go, another pot of tea. 


Monday, 28 June 2010

Quick Blog From Bognor Internet Caffe for my website for  my other website for the exhibition A Graceful Death, paintings from the end of life to email me

My Internet Connection Exploded

It did kind of explode.  I exploded it, I tripped over the wires late last night and pulled it all from the wall and it went pooop.  We have no internet and therefore, no emails and not much Spontaneous Blogging.

So here I am in a Moving Grooving Bognor Regis Internet Cafe blogging in public with all my shopping in bags at my feet.  Soon, I am taking the Muppet Overlord to a lovely old friend's house for tea.  Even when the Teenage Overlord was at his most Mutinous, which was, to all who remember, pretty damn mutinous, this lovely old gentleman gave him English Lessons after school.  Lessons included bone china cups of tea and currant buns and lashings of praise and deeply understanding nodding of head and pursing of lips.  Delightful Old Friend is a retired teacher and has a way with difficult kiddies.  He actually thinks they just need time with him and they will feel better, and blow me down.  He is right.  So the Foul Tempered Teenage Overlord went for what was generally intended as English Lessons, but were in fact whatever he wanted to do or talk about.  With lashings of fine teas and toasted teacakes.  This Old Friend, a real Mr Chips, used to call him "Old Boy".  I fought the urge to call him "Spawn of the Devil", which was not very nice (not least to me, as I was his Mum and I spawned him so what did that make me?  Eh? ).  So I will take Costya and myself for a real slap up tea with slabs of butter on our mountains of toasted crumpets and pot after pot of fine English Tea (from Ceylon).  And Dear Elderly Teacher will pat Costya on the back and say "I knew you would do it Old Boy, you were always Very Bright/Wonderful/Misunderstood" and mean it.  Costya only agrees with nice things about himself so he will agree strongly.

Oh how busy I am.  I am so full of life and art and happiness.  What!  You cry, you were but a Worm, Crying and Wailing In Your Garden a small while ago.  I have found the first firm sponsors of A Graceful Death and I am so happy.  I am setting up a proper account for it now, because there is Money Coming In just for the exhibition to be able to fly.  I am brown in the sun, I am going on holiday, I have commissions, I have so much to do and to look forward to.  Well, you may say, you are certainly not one to stay down for long.  No! I yell in reply!  My Life Is On The Up!  I am excited about painting.  I am excited about my birthday.  My children seem happy and that is a relief.  I have the excitement of Motor Bike Arty Man Who Makes Films And Does Nothing By Halves who lives, when he is there, in my spare room.  And his nice sweet best friend who pops in and out too. 

Ooops have to go now, my 50p is up and the Internet Cafe computer will explode too.  I will get back on my bike and go home and collect the Muppet, who will wear his best Bling, and go to our Afternoon Tea with the lovely old teacher friend.  He was my English teacher at school, so that is history.

Bye.  I will must try and find a Computer Man to mend my Internet Connection.  After tea though.  Nothing ever yet has come between me and my tea.  So exploding computer will have to wait. Actually, it is quite good because I have to concentrate on painting and can't pretend that I have new clients to find on Facebook. 

Friday, 25 June 2010

Taking The High Road, And The Low Road, And Buying New Knickers And Bras. for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of a life

So!  Taking Both The High and the Low Roads And Buying New Underwear. 

Here is the High Road.  My Norweigian Artist Friend sent it to me and it seems to me that I should Walk Down This Road.  Over the hill, over the mountains, is the Answer.  This is obviously taken in the snow so being me, I would have to wait till the sun was shining and it was hot to find the Answer.

Today, before we get on to the Underwear, let us talk about Roads.

Would you like to walk down the road in the picture above?  What is it about Roads and Highways and Pathways that excite us (me) so much?  I looked at this picture and felt that if I could just go and walk along it, and over the top and into the mountains, I would be Happy.  I showed it to the Wonderful Olivia who lives and writes books near here, and she offered to walk it with me.  We both thought we would get a bit of Supreme Knowledge beyond where the road runs out.  Actually, we would have to do it together because when the road ran out, and it was just a road after all, and we had invested it with more meaning than it could possible have, we would need to turn round and come back again and we may feel a little foolish for thinking God Lived Beyond The Mountains, and in those circumstances it is good to have company.  There is something in this picture that offers solace and escape from all the mundane things of life.  It is as if by magic, just by even wanting to walk this road, life will be more exciting and the hopelessly time comsuming nitty gritty of our every day lives will sort themselves out without any more input from us.

Now for the Low Road.

The Low Road.  I am torn between which to travel first.  This is where I think Particle Physics may be an inspiration.  From what I can gather in my Arty Head, particles can be in two places at once.  Oh if I was a Particle my life would be, in this case, easier.

This photo is a road from  Aritst Friend's house in Norway.   And once again it is snowy but this one looks so pretty that I may just not worry about the cold.  I have been in the Norweigian cold and snow before.  And I still live.  But I don't have Answers.

The point of these Roads is that they are there to represent Change.  Movement.  Leaving Something Behind and Finding Something New.  I look at these roads, both of which inspire me to hurtle down them with an expectant expression on my eager face, and think Ha!  There is the Answer!  To walk from where I am and to travel along those mysterious roads into a) mountains b) woods means that Everything Will Be Ok!

But, this lovely Norweigian Wood Worker and Nature Loving Friend, although he is very In Tune With Nature,  is also delightfully bonkers and I have a picture of him too with a chicken on his head.

Next we go on to the Underwear.  No Artist or Writer (Olivia) can go on any magical mystery walks to find The Meaning of Life without new fancy Bras and Knickers.  Yes.  But leaving Olivia out of this, as she was not with me at the time, what does a Woman Who Is Needing Cheering Up do?  Why, she goes to Marks and Spencers and gets a whole load of Vivid Pink Bras, with Push Up Bits so she can try and look like Dolly Parton!  She gets red and white spotty bras with matching knickers (but the knickers have to go up to her tummy button because after 3 children she has no tummy to speak of, just a sort of empty wobbly space where there once were muscles, or a function of some sort.)  Oh!  Marks and Spencers made me very happy and now I sit in my studio with the red and white spotty knickers up to my tummy button, and hidden deep beneath my paint splattered old extra large boiler suit, I have a Neon Pink Push Up Bra that makes me feel that if I was run over today and the paramedics had to see if my heart was still beating, they would have a nice surprise and say to each other "I wish all our patients would go to Marks and Spencers before being run over.  It makes such a difference, and shows respect and foresight in that we paramedics, we have our aesthetic sides too. "

Bearing that in mind, Onwards and Upwards takes on a whole new meaning.  But Onwards and Upwards it

Me and the The Muppet Overlord waiting for Enlightenment and Knowledge in our kitchen before deciding which Road To Take. 

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Slept Well Last Night, Thanks Very Much. for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life

Yes, Thanks, I Slept Surprisingly Well Last Night. Am I Cured?

A Still Life painted in the style of the Dutch Masters.  There are four butterflies amongst the flowers, and a tiny lady bird on the right hand bottom of the lacey hanky.  How about that. The painting is about 12"x 18", more with the frame, and I think what you are trying to say to me is that you would like one too.  Well, that is great.  Email me and we will talk about which flowers and what colour background.  And if you want parakeets in the background, you shall have parakeets in the background. This glorious picture cost, frame included and working against the clock because the tulips drooped lower and lower as the hours wore on, £500.00.  Go for it. 

I did sleep well last night.  It is really the first night I slept well in a while.  Well, since Alan and I graciously decided to part and go and make of our lives something glorious, without each other. I go up and down, up and down.  Sometimes I think Alan?  What was all that about!  I am an Exocet Missile, I am Shooting To The Stars!  Oh I Am Free And Life Is Good Yippee Roll On The Next One.  Then I drop down into the doldrums and cry There Will Never Be A Next One I Want Alan Boo Hoo Why Wasn't He Perfect Where Is He Now Boo Hoo How Dare He Agree To Part and so on.  The bottom line is that it is very hard to be Alan-less.  However, it is our choice and I expect there is someone else on his arm now (he moves fast) and I will just have to Blog It Out and be patient.  I have given myself till July the First before I take stock, but I expect I will give myself much much longer than that to really get over Alan and Steve.  Till, say, September.  Next year.  At dinner the other day, 13 Year Old Son said "It's nearly July Mum, time to get going (wink wink)"  "My Son," I said with dignity, "this is neither the time nor place to discuss my Love Life.  We are at dinner and what will the French Student think?"  The French Student probably thinks "We do it all the time.  Get a move on."  And so, the next day, off to B & Q with my 80 Year Old Mum.  "Darling," she says taking my arm as we enter the shop, "are you going back onto the computer web thing yet?"  "Mother", I say, "give me a chance.  It is not yet July the First."  But we all know that I am sitting this sadness and loneliness out.  I am not going to find anyone else.  Both Alan and Steve meant a lot to me and I want to honour their memories by letting them out of my life and memory with grace and love.  To show the importance of their time in my life, I want to wait till I don't miss them so much. 

So!  What else is going on? Well, the house is happy and full of excitement.  The Teenage Overlord is happy, and so we are all happy.  13 Year Old Son is away for a week on an activity thing with his school. He is an out door type and I thought we would all benefit, he from his being by the sea doing Outdoor Training without Pause and I,  from having a break from the School Routine. Rising in the morning peacefully and single (whaaa single whaa why am I single) (stern rebuke - get a grip)  and not washing out his only shirt in shampoo every night because he has only one school shirt and I keep forgetting to wash it in the machine and there is only one garment anyway so I pop it into the sink and wash it with shampoo, body wash, soap, or face scrub every night, and hang it up and will it to dry.  He has outgrown all his other shirts and this one was donated to him by the school because he looked like Oliver Twist in his other ones and I can't see the point buying another one when he leaves the school at the end of this term.  So now his Old Shirts get used in the studio to wipe my brushes. 

The Teenage Overlord, the darling Muppet, has his birthday on Sunday.  We are celebrating all weekend (I am told) and on Sunday there is a large party on the beach in Brighton.  The following weekend, The Glorious Clarissa and I, with the Muppet Overlord and 13 Year Old Son, go to Oxford to set up A Graceful Death for the day in a kind of jolly arty festival.  I wonder if I will get a tent in a field a long way away when they see I deal in Deads.  It is all a bit of a muddle, but Clarissa, my Boys and I aim to have Nothing But Fun so that is what we will do. 

This painting of Anne and Peter Snell has just been completed for the A Graceful Death exhibitions.  It is remarkable because both Peter and Anne commissioned this to go into the exhibtion to help others.  Peter died a few days after this scene.  Anne, his widow, is a strong, loving and gracious lady and I am so grateful to her and Peter for the very special honour of being with them, in the hospice, in order to paint this picture.

So I am glad to say, having slept well, I am ready for the day.  There is much to do, and paintings to paint (tomorrow, I am in London today Seeing People.  Terribly Important.  In fact, so far, all my Work and Painting Contacts are Friends.  And vice versa.  It is All One Painterly Jolly.)

Just look at the concentration.  Don't you wish you could have this Artist concentrate on your painting?  Well what do you know.  She can.  She can concentrate on your Still Life, your Angels, your Portraits, your Anything That Takes Your Fancy (within reason.  She can't do abstract but then, no one has asked her to so maybe she can.  Oh how full of possibility the world is.)

Off to London now.  Back to back appointments with Jolly Folk who Love Art, and I won't once think of Alan or Steve.  No, not once. (Whaaaaa...).  Am I cured?  I will tell you when Bill Nighy can't hold out any longer and calls me up.

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Artist's House Is Buzzing And Lo! Life Is Looking Up! for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of a life

So. The House Is Buzzing And Life Is Looking Up (Hooray)

This is Me and my Handsome Muppet outside Lambeth Palace.  At this point Rowan had asked if we had a home to go to, and though I tried to say No.  Can we stay here?  Costya, my Handsome Muppet and Teenage Overlord, had already admitted to the Archbishop that we did indeed, have a place to live.  Drat.  Better luck next time.

Well.  I am amazed at what life brings.  Yes, I have been Sad, Lonely and Single.  Everyone knows about this because I have let it all hang out, so to speak.  Today, I am a New Woman.  Today, I Know What To Do.  I am still Single, and I still miss Alan, and Steve, but I am not Sad and Lonely any more.  I am in a Good Place and I think we should all heave a sigh of relief and sit on a comfy chair with a plump cushion and have few moments to recover.

My Sexy Polish Grandmother has left.  She has packed her best spandex in her bags, and gone to a Mushroom Field far away where she can work on a contract.  We hugged and said goodbye, and she left in her friend's red car.  As I went into her room to make it ready for Eileen who was arriving in a few hours time for the weekend, I thought of the oddness of someone living in my spare room with no means of communication at all.  I am still not sure that my mother, the childrens' grandmother, would go to Poland with her best spandex and blue mascara and seek a contract above all else, on a Mushroom Field.

So Eileen and I have a jolly time.  We go with my Dear Private Friend from Chichester to West Dean Gardens where Dear Friend and I spend a couple of hours walking dreamily about the Kitchen Gardens, Greenhouses and Large Foliage Bits while Eileen goes undercover with her camera and equipment and photographs flowers.  This is her passion.  As Private Friend and I strolled about, I was sure Eileen was in the undergrowth not 3 yards from us at any given time.

So.  As the Sexy Polish Grandmother leaves, I get a call from a friend of a friend of a friend.  I hear, says the voice, that you have a spare room.  (How?  What has the Sexy Polish Grandmother being saying?)  Yes, I say.  Can I have it?  Says the voice and Yes say I.  Then I say Who Are You?  and we go into more detail.  I now have a new Occupant of the Spare Room.  He came to look at it before making his mind up, and into our Bognor House came our next Member of the Household.  His marriage and life is exploding around him and he needs somewhere till he can make the next step.  Fine, I say, we can handle that here.  His son, he says, is not happy.  Ha!  I say, my sons have been Unhappy too!  I know that one too.  And my daughter, I add, she has been Dreadfully Unhappy.  My new Occupant of the Spare Room has the following which make him popular before he has even upacked.  1.  A motobike.  2.  A guitar.  3.  Is best friends with my lovely friend's lovely daughter  (both of whom are popular here)  4.  Sings in a band.  He is, in a word, Arty.  Excellent.  We will have, for as long as he stays, A Commune.  He is, it is important to add, very sad and needs time and space. But from what I have seen, he will leap forward into his future when the time is right

And life, quite apart from this, is looking up.  I have more work, and more venues for the A Graceful Death.  I am so happy in the studio, and there are opportunities everywhere.  The sun is out, the flowers are nodding, and everything seems Possible.  

13 Year Old Son has gone away for a week.  Oh the peace.  Oh the silence.  I have only the French Student who goes home this week, and the New Arty Man, and Costya the Teenage Overlord to see to and feed.  And I think, I think, I am due a wee holiday abroad to see friends and live it up a bit.  The world is Big, I am only here once, and Boy, There Is Much To Do.  Onwards, I say with a Yodle in my Voice, And Upwards!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Yawning And Sighing The Single Artist Has A Nice Day Ahead In The Studio for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of a life to email me with your commission requests of your nearest and dearest as Angels.

Yawning And Sighing, The Single Artist (Me) Has A Nice Day Ahead In The Studio.

We start the day with this picture called "Elderly Angels Waiting At A Celestial Bustop".  I am adapting this to Alan's specifications because he has a few Tweaks and Ideas for it.  You see, you could have your family and/or friends painted as Angels.  It is a funny profound clever and loving thing to do.  But then, that's me, isn't it? (Quick, paint an Angel called Hubris.)

The Yawning and Sighing is still going on.  I had two dreams last night, one of which was lovely and the other was not.  The lovely one had me getting up to dance from a chair in a hall with the man of my dreams.  He was someone I knew but when he pulled me up to dance I laughed because I was In Love and we were going to be married after the dance.  I remember in the dream he was so tall I had to stand on tip toes to nibble his earlobe.  What I was doing that for, God only knows.  The second dream was where I was talking to my Man who had just come back from a holiday.  In my dream, the Man who was my Beloved, looked like Max Wall.  This character to whom in my dreams, I had at some point, dedicated my life and soul in love and romance, was rubbing his hands together and telling me that actually yes, he had taken another woman on holiday with him.  In the dream I was not surprised because the man was a Toad, but I was very upset. 

So here we are now!  The Toad was a dream and the Man I Was To Marry After The Dance With The Earlobes was a dream.  I am in my studio, with oh so much to do.  Here is an Angel -

This is the "Bring It On" Angel for the Glorious Clarissa.  It is a statement in Angel Speak for her life to become consumed with Excitement and Fun. 

  The above Angels are painted to order and start at £40.00. Generally these paintings are about 7" x 9".  But you can have any Angel, at any size that you want.   If you want a portrait as an Angel, they become more expensive.  I am doing a Before and After Angel Diptych for a lovely lady at the moment.  It shows her as an Angel in her every day sports/gardening/being very busy clothes in one side panel of wood.  The other side panel shows her as an Angel in her finest finery, washed and brushed and wearing her best dress and shoes. That counts as a double portrait and costs around £300.

  The painting below of Elli the Graduation Angel was a portrait at £150.

So you can decide that you want your Mother or Neighbour or Yourself painted as an Angel.  You can decide they are to be a Gardening Angel, or a Dog Walking Angel, or if it is yourself, an Irresistable Angel.  If you can't decide, talk to me and we can come up with ideas.  My email address is always at the top of my blogs. 

I do have a nice day ahead today.  I am finising painting the Anne and Peter Snell portrait of Peter in his Hospice days before he died.  This wonderful man asked me to come and paint him to include him in the A Graceful Death exhibition.  He and his wife are so loving and connected in this painting.  It is unfinished, and this is how it is so far -

I will finish the picture today I hope.  Tonight Eileen comes to stay, and I think the Polish Grandmother who Speaks Not A Word Of English,  leaves.  So far she has not, but because we can't communicate I am just waiting to see what happens.  If she does go, Eileen can have her room.  If not, then someone has to sleep in the car.  The house is full again, as the Costya the Teenage Overlord has come home for the Summer, 20 Year Old Daughter is not well and is coming back to rest, 13 Year Old Son actually lives her, and the French Student is also still here till next week.  Oh, and I live here too.  Oh, and tomorrow Nice Private Friend from Chichester is visiting and it is 13 Year Old Son's Sports Day.  Ha. 

Must call the Rocking Rev Rachel Mann now.  A Graceful Death is going up there and we need to discuss dates.  And she is forever, the Rock Chick Angel Of The North.

I am the Weary Single Blobby Angel of the South.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A Few Dainty Profanities Outside Lambeth Palace And A Cracking Time Inside for my website for my other website for the exhibition A Graceful Death, paintings of the end of a life

A Few Dainty Profanities Outside Lambeth Palace And A Cracking Time Inside

I was up at 5.30 am yesterday to take 20 Year Old Daughter to her University interview.  By 5.45am I had my hair washed and my party frock on.  I had my High Shoes in my Bag, and a change of lipstick if I needed it.  At 6.30 that evening, Costya the Teenage Overlord and I were going to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Garden Party.  I was ready nearly 13 hours in advance.  Bring it on Rowan, I said, as I chose from my Marks and Spencers Jingly Jewellery the red earrings, necklace and bracelet. 

The plan was -

  • Take Amazing 20 Year Old Daughter to her University Interview in Brighton at 9.00am.  Select with her the most serious and academic of her pink and glittery outfits.  Not Dolly Parton, we decided.  More Doris Day.  20 Year Old Daughter is not to be underestimated.  She may be a good 6' tall, utterly blonde, and very funny but she is sharp as a razor and frighteningly clever.

  • (We're very alike)

  • Go to the Glorious Clarissa's!  Oh what a boost to an Artist's Day.  She and I were to go over my Budget for A Glorious Death (I mean the Exhibition, not a Planned Assassination)

  • Then on to Westminster to meet the Teenage Overlord and go to the Archbishop's Reception In the Garden. 

  • After which, when the Archbishop has finished taking notes on How To Proceed In the Anglican Church from Costya, we were to get the car from Clarissa's, go to my Fabby Sister In Law and move Costya out for the Summer and pack up the car with all his Stuff.  Home, with Costya, all his Stuff, in Bognor Regis, by about Early Hours ofTomorrow Morning.
As Costya and I walked up to Lambeth Palace I twisted my ankle and went Splat onto the pavement.  My bag with the High Shoes and Lipstick and Handy Novel In Case No One Talked To Me went flying and I thought my foot had come off.  This is where, over the wall inside the Palace, the guests would have heard as they sipped their lovely wine and ate their delightful canapes, "Bugger Pooh Bum Willy Face Aaaarg" coming from the street outside.  In these circumstances no one falls gracefully.  I went over like a 56lb bag of potatoes with an loud Thump under Costya's feet.  It didn't matter that I wore my best blue and white spotty dress, it didn't matter that my earrings were red, I looked like a Graceless Attention Seeker That Couldn't Hold Her Drink and had Forgotten To Take Her Prescription. 

As I lay on the ground making Childbirth Sounds, people carefully stepped over me in case I was Catching.  Costya bent over me with his hands on his knees and said " Shall we go in now?"  I got up and put my mangled foot back into my shoe and collected my belongings and Whimpered A Lot. Grasping Costya's arm I made myself walk for a little while - why?  Well, because I still had a pair of High Heeled Sandles to Put On and the Archbishop's Party to go to!  I had to make sure I could do it without fainting with pain. 

I am sure you all know me by now.  I put those Goddam Shoes on and thought of all those people for whom the Show Must Go On, and on Costya's Arm, I went into Lambeth Palace.

The Party was excellent.  We met a married couple who were lawyers.  They had so much common interest with each other it made me think there was a future in marriage.  Mr Lawyer said they spent ages chatting about Points of Law and he had such a nice face, I thought that must have been bliss for them both.  We met a lovely Lady Vicar who has two degrees, lovely eyes and is on the Archbishop's staff.  She is married to a mathemetician and I wondered if I would understand their Chats Over Dinner, if ever I was present.  Such a clever and kind lady.  We saw Moira Stewart and I was too shy to go and tell her how beautiful she is.  Let me tell you, she is Gorgeous.  Her skirt was bright red and came to just above her ankles.  ( Her ankles were the same size.  One of her ankles was not swelling and mutating by the minute.  She could stand comfortably on both feet and not suck in her breath.)  Her top was fitted and black.  She walked like a Queen and one day I will tell her she is very yummy.  We met a writer/website designer/mother/ex TV presenter called Jenna Cox and her husband the physicist Brian Cox, and were wowed by her purple tights and high shoes with white ribbons tied in bows.  And, her blouse was made of silk.  She looked very good indeed and I wanted her blouse to take home. 

We met another lady who was an actress and whose face I knew - now she was very beautiful - but whose name I didn't.  We met two absolutely lovely nuns who were very cleverly in sensible shoes and fleeces (it got very cold as the evening went on but Artists With One Elephant Ankle and Socialising To Do don't give in, they just pretend they are Shivering With The Excitement Of Life).  Nuns are very special.  I love meeting nuns, and they knew about Jesus on the Tube so I loved them even more.  And we met a very nice Man of the Cloth and his fascinating wife who works in Palliative Care.  She had much to say and I hope she emails me some of her thoughts for A Graceful Death.  She was a very interesting lady.

Soon it became obvious the Archbishop and his Family and Staff wanted to go to bed so Costya and I left with a flurry of wit and colour.  Outside the palace I took off my high shoes, grabbed the Teenage Overlord's arm and staggered off into the night.

Costya was a total pleasure to be with.  He is (of course) tall and handsome, but he is interesting, funny and very good at listening.  Everyone at the Garden Party liked him, and I was so proud of him.  We will go to more, he and I. 

Today, I can hardly walk.  I am due to cycle to my Dear Friends house (7 miles), cycle together another few miles to Lunch which he is buying to Cheer Me Up, cycle back those few miles, then for me to cycle home (7 miles) so that I can go to my meeting at the Hospice by 3.30 with the very inspirational Artist in Residence there.  By tonight I will be a Cabbage.  I won't be able to feed the French Student.  He will have to have Shreddies because I won't be able to a) walk b) move c) talk d) function.

I wonder how many of the guests last night knew the Profanities they heard from outside the wall came from the Shivering Artist with an Ominous Ankle who appeared holding onto a tall handsome blond Russian fellow (Costya.   The Teenage Overlord.) seconds later.  Wonder if they mentally noted down the phrases for later use in trying circumstances of their own.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Mists Descend. But I Have Three New Dresses So At Least I Am Looking Good. for my other website about Jesus on the Tube. Check it and see. for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings of the end of a life

The Mists.  Descending.  But I Greet Them With A New Pink Dress So Who Is Boss Now, Eh?

The Mists Descend.  Here we have the Artist in her usual pink or red, posing like a shameless hussy with a significant wodge of dosh in the foreground.  She is aware that the Mists, those vague and oft avoided Feelings of Loss and Sadness, are settling around her.  However, she knows what side her bread is buttered, so to speak, and is shown here at a cafe in Brighton just about to eat the biggest fanciest veggie breakfast God ever invented.  Mists of Loss and Sadness, it is said, remove most peoples' appetites.  Not this one.  "Bring it on", she says through heavy sighs.  "And don't stint on the ketchup."

These Mists are all my own doing.  I said I would give myself time to feel all the loss and sadness surrounding Steve and Alan, and so I am.  Experiencing the Mists are long overdue.  I could not cope with the death of Steve so when Alan came to save me and my life, I didn't have to.  Now Alan has gone too, I need to get on with Unfinished Business and Let the Sadness Happen.  In Oxford though with the Glorious Clarissa, I bought three new hot pink and hot red sun dresses.  I may be Sad and Lost but I am Blazing With Colour and Fire. 

So, day to day, how are things?  I carry with me a slowness that has not been with me before.  The slowness tells me to just sit and look at whatever takes my fancy and stay there for days.  That however, would be difficult for most of us.  Not only because time is taken away from the mundane tasks that make our routines run with an enviable smoothness.  That matters, but there is more.  The more time spent sitting and gazing the harder it is to come back to life as we left it.  So I think if I were to Succumb To The Slowness, I may never start up again. I don't like nights.  I don't look forward to getting into bed, it has not that peace and relief I wish for after a hard day's work.  I have Time ahead.  All night, and when morning comes I don't want to have to get up and face the day. 

But.  Before you all call the ambulance, this is not all there is.  I expect many of you have this and worse, much of the time.  I have things to keep me going. 

  • 13 Year Old Son wants to take up boxing.  This proves there is a life outside my tiny little orbit and that not everyone is longing to be Sad with me.

  • My Dear Brother No 1 ( I have three brothers. Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3) and his Lovely Girlfriend came to stay at the weekend.  They are deeply sympathetic and so we had a huge Indian Takeaway to prove it.  We put on the football and talked all the way through it and then watched the film It's Complicated.  Now I want to marry Steve Martin. 

  • I have joined a Campaigning Cycle Group.  I did it because I so enjoyed helping out at the Opening yesterday.  It is possible that I have joined a Militant Cycling Group, but  because there was lots of free cake and tea and the lady who is the Boss has such nice red hair, I thought "OOh!  There will be lots of Cycling Fun with these jolly folk."  But it may be only after we have abseiled into the local government planning office from helicopters and wearing Penguin Costumes that the jolly bike rides happen.  We will see. 

  • Sexy Polish Grandmother Who Speaks No English is Moving Out.  She has a job now somewhere else, and I am happy for her.  Her friend who came to tell me said they all loved me.  I told them I loved them too and we all looked deeply tearful and passionate for a moment before Sexy Grandmother's friends had to go home.

  • French Student goes back home in a week and a half.  It is time, I say, to Do The Kitchen.  Yes, it is time. When he has gone.

  • Work?  Today I paint Anne and Peter Snell for the A Graceful Death exhibition.  Peter died a few days after I went to photograph him.  He is so beautiful.  His dignity is evident and humbling. 

  • I am doing my new commission which is for a birthday present, so I will keep it vague until I get the go ahead to do other wise

  • I want to paint the Rev Rachel Mann as the Rock Chick Angel of the North!  She is so full of life and energy and such a visual treat.  Rachel knows this and is interested so Go Go Go Rachel. 

  • Tomorrow I take Costya the Teenage Overlord to a Reception in the Garden at Lambeth Palace.  The Archbishop of Canterbury whom I admire beyond imagining, will therefore meet Costya and I hope he will appreciate Costya's advice on What To Do Next in the Anglican Church.  The Archbishop has a Jesus on the Tube from me.  This is why I get invitations to the Palace now and again.  I think.  Can't be because of my blog.  Can it??
So.  Off to paint Anne and Peter Snell as Peter was dying.  No more mists for Peter then, but plenty of mists for Anne.  He was the love of her life and her mists must be pea soupers compared to mine. Onwards and Upwards then.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Short Analysis Of Angels in Arundel, Family, Cooking and Being Droopy for my other website about Jesus travelling on a Tube Train for the A Graceful Death exhibition of paintings of the end of a life

A Short Discourse on Angels, Family, Cooking and Droopiness

Angels on Pebbles on sale in Arundel.  These Angels go with you wherever you want, just pop the suitably varnished (and thus hard wearing and weather proof) Angel Stone into your pocket, handbag, sporren, and let her Inspire you all day.  Take her out and put her on your desk as you work, or in the car with you as you drive, or if you are a Shy Angel Possessor, put her safely out of sight and let her keep you in her thoughts from the deepest recesses of wherever you carry her.  Or leave her at home to decorate the house and welcome you back as you come into the house.  Up to you.  No pressure.

Here are some more.  Believe me, there are millions and so far, people are loving them.  I am delighted and tend to love the people back, to encourage them.  I like the idea of kids taking one into exams with them, or into school when they need a bit of a boost.  Some of the Angels have writing on them, saying Walk Tall (on a very tall one) or I'm Here, or Yipppeeee and so on.

Family.  Next bit of discourse and analysis.  Today, I came home from Arundel and a Fine Morning of Selling to find Brother No 3, here which is always a bonus.  He said the door was open and it was just as well I wasn't here because he had to say his Office.  Good, I said, carry on. Brother No 3 is a priest.  But why, I thought to myself, was the door open in the first place?  It was probably Costya the Teenage Overlord on his way out to another heady lunch in a pizza place with his mysterious pals none of whom I have ever met, spoken to, nor had the honour of knowing their names.  I take it I am still embarrasing.  And I suspect he has told them all that I have an Irish Accent and dress in African Scarves and am Odd Beyond Reason and Not To Be Trusted.  I think there is a bit of transference going on there if that is the case.

So, Brother No 3 silently says his office.  I keep quiet because God is listening to him and may not like to be disturbed.  Heelllloooo says a voice from the doorway (still wide open.  We have given up, you are all welcome, just pile on in) and Lo!  It is 20 Year Old Daughter and my Mother!  Time for Tea they cry, God releases Brother No 3 from his obligations for the moment, and I put the kettle on.  As we sat around the kitchen table everyone talked at once and misheard everyone else and told the person next to them exactly how to live their lives.  Bliss.  My lovely family are never backwards in coming forwards and after a lot of excited giving of advice, opinions and facts, they set about discussing my new kitchen.

Alan, Bless him Forever, is helping me to re do my kitchen.  This is a measure of his generosity but I am sad he isn't here to do it with me.  However, it will be the best I can do in his honour.

Soon I gave up responding to questions and ideas.  This wasn't about me, this was a Kitchen For The New Millenium, and I was getting in the way. I was being too cautious (No, I think I will keep the fridge.  No, I don't want a water feature) and I needed to be Over Ruled. 

Hours later, exhausted, everyone left.   13 Year Old Son came back from school and Costya the Teenage Overlord came back from his Lunch with Mysterious Pals, the French Student came home and finally the Sexy Polish Grandmother Who Speaks Not A Word of English came home.  This leads me onto Cooking.

Cooking.  I was so so exhausted that I couldn't be bothered.  Everyone had scraps and tomato ketchup and so far, the French Student who is possibly the best brought up person in the Universe, still has not complained.  My dinner was Fruit and Nut where I sucked all the chocolate off and spat out the fruit and nuts, and some vegetable soup, and a packet of Salt and Vinegar Crisps.

Finally. Droopiness.  This is how I feel today.  Droopy, slow, sad and overwhelmed.  I have a sense of emptiness and exhaustion which is about the loss of Alan and Steve. The only way to get past this is to go through it so I am doing just that.  This is Day Nine of Being Single, and there is a long way to go.

This is the Walk Tall Angel, which is my Angel for today.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Life Is Just A Roller Coaster Of Stuff But First, A Word On Hearses for my website for my other website about, Jesus on the Tube.  With You and Your Family Too. for the exhibition A Graceful Death about paintings of the end of a life to email me

A Roller Coaster Of A Life And Yes, Full Of Stuff.  But First, This Word On Hearses...

I have got behind a Hearse on many occasions, and each time I have been made late.  (Not as Late as the Deceased in the Hearse you say).  The Hearse has pulled out into the traffic and it travels slowly, very slowly, to wherever it is going.  In the back, in full view, is the Coffin and the Flowers.  The Hearse is very black and shiny and is unmistakably custom built for coffins.  It cannot double up as a taxi, or a family car, or even a removals vehicle.  It is without a doubt, for Deads.

What I thought today, as I pulled off the motorway after a long journey and onto the last stretch of my journey, was Oh No, A Blinking Hearse.  Goddammit I Am Going To Be Late.  ( But not as Late as the etc etc etc).  Why do Hearses have to go slow?  A mark of respect for the Dead?  But the deceased in the coffin is having Tea with Jesus and would say, if they could, "Bit late now, my hearties."  The Coffin Occupant is probably unconcerned at all levels about what is happening after death, and would not bat a celestial eyelid if the Hearse broke the sound barrier on the way to the funeral. 

We however, the motorists, miss the point entirely, of the slow procession to the Whatever.  We just say Goodness, I Hope That Blasted Hearse Either Steps On It Or Turns Left ASAP.  We line up in a long and cross traffic jam, trying to remember that this is a sombre occaision and that Hearses are Allowed to do this, but really thinking that when we die, we are going to be transported in a Ferrari at Top Speed to the Whatever.

I know we are meant to reflect on the seriousness of death, as we trail along the busy London road behind the Definately Not Anything Else But A Hearse With A Real Dead In It.  It is meant to make us take stock.  You Too, says the Hearse, Will Come To This.  (Not us, we motorists say.  We are going to be shot from a cannon to our funerals and not snarl up the traffic).  I don't see the person arriving late for a meeting and saying "Gosh, chaps, Life is Brief and let us all ponder on our Mortality.  I have been behind a Hearse and Blow Me Down, What is Life, if not a Candle In the Wind?"  The meeting will not say, as one voice, "We are Humbled.  Have a Promotion."  It is much more likely that the person late for the Meeting rushes in hot and flustered and says "SorryIamlateIgotbehindahearseanditdidn'tturnrightorleftandamItoolate?"  The Meeting would more likely say "Days, weeks, months of preparation ruined by your tardiness!  We must call Head Office".

So the knock on effect of Hearses going slowly is

  • It makes everyone cross

  • It makes everyone late (but not as late as the etc etc etc)

  • the Deceased couldn't care less (having tea with Jesus etc)

  • It makes people irrational about their own funeral choices in the future (cannons, Ferraris etc)
And a solution could be, if the Hearse really really wanted to go slowly

  • To go at about midnight when there is not much traffic and it looks even spookier in the moonlight.
On now to the Roller Coaster part of this account. 

I have a new commission I went to discuss today.  Fab.  Work.  Lovely lady wants to be painted twice, and I can do that.  My dear American friends took me out to lunch and I am as always, delighted with their company.  They have 4 paintings and I suggested they have 5.  They suggested I go and stay in Arizona with them and I said It's A Deal so I am going to Arizona.

Next week I start a project at a hospice near here with the deeply thoughtful and talented Artist in Residence.  It will be to celebrate their new building and I am delighted.

A Dear Friend here is taking me out to lunch to cheer me up.  I have never seen his house so he said I could see it first and I think that in itself is an honour as Dear Friend is Terribly Private.  I will probably be allowed to look through the letter box before having to get in the car and go off to Lunch.

My three brothers are taking me to the highest Highlands in October for a few days to celebrate my birthday.  And I am having a Barn Dance, at the end of Summer, so I will have two celebrations.  I am, of course, open to any number of celebrations so if you want to take me somewhere the answer is probably Yes. 

And of course, A Graceful Death will go to Oxford next month, and the Glorious Clarissa and I will go and just See What Happens.  And the exhibition will go to Dublin and maybe Manchester, Birmingham and Yorkshire.  I wonder if I should take it Arizona?

So.  If you are a hearse driver, make a difference.  Put your foot on the gas and make history.  Do a Ton from the Funeral Home to the Church/Crematorium, and go down in the Guiness Book of Records.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Day Five Of Being Single And I Am Not Going To Die for my website for my other website for the A Graceful Death exhibition of paintings from the end of a life to email me.

Day Five Of Being Single And Of Course I Am Not Going To Die

The Boutique Bed And Breakfast Massage Chair that was a Must before breakfast.  I felt that Snow White's seven dwarfs were hammering away at me but it did me no end of good.  Clarissa nearly died laughing when it was her turn so I want to know what buttons she pressed on the controls.

No no no.  I am not going to die.  If I did, who would feed the French Student?  Who would smile and nod at the Sexy Polish Grandmother Who Speaks Not A Word Of English and Lives In My Spare Room?  If I died, how would 13 Year Old Son get his Whole Roasted Ox for breakfast and all his other meals?  How would the Angels get painted and how, you tell me this, would the A Graceful Death be developed and made More Excellent than it already is?  And further more, who would wear my new Marks and Spencers Fancy High Heeled Shoes that I bought with Clarissa in Oxford?  There's a sobering thought.  Who would wear those shoes if I died?  And since I am about 6' 1" in them, I think I need to stay alive to make sure I get to as many places as possible in them and make sure everyone loves them as much as I do. 

Day Five of being Single. It is not so bad.  It is possible to do.  It is the right thing to do, and it is made so much better by knowing that there is a man who loves me and wants the best for me, despite our decision to call it a day. It makes the future friendly, not hostile.  And I wish Alan all the very very best and know that he will find his peace and happiness because he deserves it.

Now.  Onto other things.  Here they are. 

  • The Glorious Clarissa and I went to Oxford.  Yes, and we booked into a Boutique Bed and Breakfast which was as fancy as you can imagine.  I had a water bed to sleep on.  I had a water bed with controls to sleep on.  I looked for settings such as Tempest Mode or Hawaiian Surfing Mode but they were more sensible than that.  A quiet night's sleep with one's spine supported as if by angels was the general idea.
  • At breakfast, where my vegetarian option was Eggs Benedict with Haloumi Cheese, we found a Massage Chair.  Clarissa nearly needed hospitalisation when she had her turn in it because she laughed so much.  I thought she would explode.  Whatever the chair was doing to her, it was worth every penny paid by the Boutique Bed and Breakfast, as Clarissa certainly had an experience others would spend years trying to find. 
  • Having done our Business at Milton Manor where A Graceful Death will be showing next, we went to Oxford where we said "Gosh what lovely architecture, look at that college there Oooh look there's Marks and Spencers...and Primark..." We had a small attack of Retail Therapy.
  • That evening I went to a birthday party in the Golf Club next to Wimbledon Common.  It was Rocking Richard Martin's 40th, and if you have been following this blog, you will know that Cecil had her party a month ago and I was extremely impressed with Richard's dancing.  He is a smart lawyer and a very clever witty man and so to see he could dance too was just the icing on the cake.  His wife is my darling pal Lucy and it is a Given that Lucy can dance.  Even in her highest heels, can Lucy dance.  In fact, Lucy, Cecil and I are the Business on the dance floor.  We have a) no shame b) no boundaries c)age on our side (we don't care). 

Work Things are thus -

  • A new commission from a lovely lady at Lucy's Party for Rocking Richard.  Thank You God.  (And Lovely Lady)
  • All my cards in the Chichester shop have sold. 
  • Am painting new pictures for A Graceful Death, one of which may be funded which would help.
  • Got help at last to fill in Arts Council Funding Application Form
  • And, I may have another Grandmother living here soon. 
  • Am I collecting Grandmothers?

Apart from that, I am being cheered along by friends and family and I am having a Barn Dance for my 50th birthday.  It is a fact.

Now. Day Five is underway, and much has to be done.  Onwards, as I keep saying, and Upwards.