Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Wind It Is A Changing, The Times They Are A Blowing. Or Thereabouts.

www.antoniarolls.co.uk for my website of paintings
www.jesusonthetube.co.uk for my website of Jesus on the Tube
www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com for the exhibition A Graceful Death, paintings from the end of life

There's A Change Afoot.  The Sands Are Shifting.  

Many things have happened in my household this year.  We have had adventures and we have had  traumas.  We have changed directions, changed our minds, changed our hearts and have moved on in our lives, to new and exciting things.  My house, this time last year, was very different to how it is now.  I remember the relief when the Muppet, then the 16 Year Old Son, went up to London to fulfil his dream and leave Bognor forever.  And, he thought, me.  He moved in with his Aunt and began a new life.  We all breathed a ragged sigh down here, and got on with trying to get the first A Graceful Death exhibition on the road.

The Daughter moved in with her Uncle in his new flat in Brighton and began a new life of independence and hard work as a Nursing Assistant.  Her room was cleared out and repainted ready for a new occupant, whoever that may be.  13 Year Old Son was only 12 and a foot shorter than he is now.  I was afraid of many things, and felt I was wading through treacle to no real avail.  But I was Wrong!  The treacle was to some avail.  There was light at the end of the treacle.  

Today, A Graceful Death is really moving.  I have put the exhibition on 4 times this year, and am just about to do it for the 5th time, next month, in Dublin.  Late last night, I came back from visiting the Rocking Rev Rachel Mann in Manchester where she is hosting the exhibition in February 2011.  I went on from Rachel's to St Martins in the Bullring in Birmingham where A Graceful Death will be showing for 3 weeks in November 2011.  I will do some workshops in St Martins, on bereavement and creativity with the very talented poet, Penny Hewlett.  And the paintings for A Graceful Death are moving onwards and upwards.  They are getting better and better.  I am painting some wonderful people, and am being sent some very good poetry and written pieces by people that have visited the exhibition and want to contribute something, so that at each exhibition there are more paintings and offerings.  I would like to paint some survivors of bereavement, like myself.  My self portrait is coming along and I would like to add to it portraits of other people who have found their way through the worst of their loss.  Or who haven't.  All stages of mourning are important, I can paint all of it.

I turned 50 in August and have had three parties.  All of them great fun and full of friends.  If I think about it, the quality of my friends is without equal.  I am so very lucky to know the people I know.  Our Rolling Weekend Of Tea And Cakes was such fun and we are now 3 stone heavier, all of us, and unable to shift any of it because we let our guards down, opened the flood gates, and so on.  Now we are on a roll and are like Billy Bunters looking for tuck boxes. ( Or is that just me?)  We (I) can't get onto our bikes because we are so exhausted looking for cakes. We need to sit down on the sofa and rest.   I had the Ceilidh last weekend, and that was a wonderful example of British Partying With Knobs On.  More on that soon, when I get the photos from our official photographer, Eileen.  It went very well, and I am delighted to say that I got lots more presents which I find very addictive.  I am tempted to say not that it is my birthday this month, but that it is my birthday this year.  And keep going with the parties.

And I met some fab new people in my area.  I have some very inspiring friends and have filled my house with Dynamic Folk, who provide me with so much entertainment I will never need to watch telly or listen to the radio again.  Or read a book.   My house, a year on, is teaming with Intrigue and Smouldering Passions.   There is the Arty Man With Motor Bike And Guitar and Much Drama In His Life and his Ginger Best Friend, there have been people from Poland and France coming and going, and it is home now to only one child during term time and on top of all that, I have a Gardner.  My garden is no longer a sweetly overgrown meadow with a trampoline somewhere in it, it no longer has hollyhocks that manage to battle through the undergrowth and emerge panting for breath, scarred but stronger and more street wise than the neighbours' hollyhocks.  The garden no longer has fascinating plants and weeds that fight it out Mafia Style to see who can strangle each other first.  I have a Gardner, who we call the Cosmic Gardner because he is very keen on spiritual matters, and reads all manner of enlightening books.  He has brought Zen to the garden.

It is worth reassuring you that the Muppet, Costya the Teenage Overlord, who went to London to be King and to never have to see Bognor or me again, loves both me and Bognor now.  Having gone away, he has realised that not only am I quite nice, but that Bognor is quite nice too.  It was with a sad little wave of his hand and a quiet little sob, that he went back up to London to resume his college life as Ruler of All the Earth.  His Mum, he said, wasn't half bad.  In fact, all things considered, she was a bit fab. 

So what about this wind that is blowing, this sand that is shifting, these times that are changing?  I feel it all in my bones.  I feel the end of an era coming on, and a chapter closing.  What is this chapter you mutter to each other?  It is the chapter where I have brought up the children, muddled my way through life, felt too shy about being an artist to really give it my all, didn't know I love to write and met and lost Steve. The winds, the shifting sands, are all about a change that is happening around me.  I know more people.  I am happier with my paintings, I am earning more, I feel quieter and more focused on what I want to do.  And I am getting an inkling about what it is that I want to do! Gosh.  Fancy that.
A very exciting development that was nowhere in sight this time last year, is that now I have Plans.  I have Plans for Next Year and do you know, 2011 is Full?  I can only squeeze things in.  A list will now follow.  
  • Feb 2011 A Graceful Death goes to Manchester.  This is combined with a portrait of the Rocking Rev Rachel Mann who is having a portrait of herself as the Rock Chick Angel of the North.  Rev Rachel has her own heavy metal band, tattoos and spikey hair and is an awesome performer.  
  • August 2011, I want to take A Graceful Death to the Edinbugh Festival.  This needs much planning.
  • September 2011 Clarissa and I intend to go to India for 3 weeks.  This may be a good month in which to go because in
  • November 2011 A Graceful Death goes to Birmingham for 3 weeks.  
  • December 2011 it is, as ever, Christmas again.  
This has been serious blog.  I feel thoughtful and introspective tonight.  Time to go to bed now. Tomorrow I will wake with an explosion of extroversion and will smother you all with wit and glamour.  But not right now.  Right now, I am still feeling the wind of change blowing sand in my face.  Tried to bring Time into that sentence to include all the bits of the title.  How about this then - I am still feeling the wind of change blowing sand in my face while looking at the time.  There.  It is all about progress.  Goodnight.

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