ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Planning, And Dreaming, And Writing Lists, And Eating Wild Rice
Planning, And Dreaming, And Writing Lists, And Eating Wild Rice
It is cold and dark outside and the snow is freezing hard. Christmas is coming. 2010 will end, and a new year will come. Everything will change and I will sail effortlessly into the future. I am sitting in my studio wondering what to do first. 1. Plan something 2. Gaze into space (dream) 3. Eat my wild rice with olive oil, soy sauce and garlic 4. Write a list. The wild rice won.
I have been very busy this year. I have been dashing about, being an Artist and Mother and being very aware of deadlines, of targets, of things I must do all at once, at the same time and now not later, immediately and without fail. I have been up, I have been down and in the midst of it, I remember thinking, "Oh for a quiet life!". I seem to have that quiet life now. It is terribly quiet. I wake with a start at 7am thinking, "Whoops, time to get up, tons of things to do. Get the 14 Year Old Velocoraptor up, feed him and send him off to school and see if I can get my proposals for blah di blah done before I do the washing up during which I will phone the Pope and ask if he would like a Jesus on the Tube." And then I realise, that no. The Son is not only supsended again for Dreadfulness, but he has flu. He is either violent, or ill. He is in bed with a terribly high temperature groaning and having lucid dreams where he thinks I am a hedgehog. I have finished my Angel commissions for before Christmas. And I have had my A Graceful Death meetings and the Portrait does not have to be done till Later and the other Angels are not due till mid January. The other projects I have on the go are for early, mid and late 2011. I then recall with a start - the builders, the builders must be let in, my home is a wreck and there is dust everywhere...but no. They are gone too, they are just a whispy memory and the kitchen is finished, the house is tidied and clean and there is, in fact, nothing urgent to be done at all.
So when I wake now at 7.30am, I say "And what, pray, do I wish to do first when eventually, I rise?" I feel slow and heavy as if I have post traumatic stress disorder. It takes me ages to go downstairs and face the problem of what to have for breakfast. "Oh," I say with a kind of agonised indecision, "there is only one of me, and so many choices to make. Oh is it toast, or is it eggs, or is it something new and alluring that I cannot quite grasp." Thus day begins.
The answer is to do nothing. By that I mean, do nothing taxing. The Boy is ill, yes, and needs care and some entertainment, but I am counting on his fever to make him drowsy and easy to please. So far, he has been able to lie on the sofa and watch films and doze and I have encouraged it with gusto. Yesterday's task for me was simply to buy a tree and put it up, which took me forever (as I am so slow and neanderthal), but I did it. It is a seven foot dodgy cheap needle dropping affair, but it looks wonderful with all the lights and decorations on it. One just has to remember not to breathe in the same room as the tree, or go anywhere near it as it sheds its needles when someone even shuts the front door too hard. I think it is a highly strung, mentally disabled and overworked tree, which suits me fine as it takes one to know one. A week to go then, and Christmas day will be upon us. Everything gears up here again next week - I now have 12 for Christmas and it seems they are all staying for a few days. I must plan for about 36 meals a day with all the washing up too, buy the food and get in the groove and prepare it all in advance. I can do that, I used to run a restaurant years ago. (True. I did, and I was very good at it too). I love my Christmas guests though and am thoroughly looking forward to seeing them. They may have to finish my sentences for me, but they are used to that.
I shall be away for a good deal of 2011, I have plans for exhibitions, holidays and new projects. But let us talk now about the dreaming. Ah, the dreaming. This quiet, fallow period that I am in right now, is perfect for making castles in the air. Dreaming is not about planning what is already decided upon, it is about wishing, hoping and fancifying. I find myself sitting quietely on my sofa, wrapped in my spotty pink and white blanket, a pot of tea next to me, and falling into a gentle reverie, in which so many wonderful things happen to me, so many amitions are fulfulled and all the things I wish for, are true. I find myself able to say all the things I wish I could say in my daydream, and doing all the things I long to do, without fear. And whatever I say in my dreams, is perfect, and there are no misunderstandings, only enlightenment and progress. I can sit for a long time like this, making my world the place it should be, with me at the centre, doing great things, thinking great thoughts, and being understood, appreciated and loved just for being me. I meet great people, I can talk to them as if I were one of them, and I can make them laugh and sigh with profound thoughts. I paint without interruption, and what I paint is truly wonderful. The children are wise and thoughtful and independent, and do all the right things that young people should do to make their mother's life go smoothly, and everyone I know, in this dream, supports me. And I don't get fat. I can eat out all the time, and still look wonderful whatever fried mars bar medley I have been snacking on the night before. And in this fancy world I create, I get married again to someone who is just right and just loves everything about me and I about him; we have the same wedding as in the film Mama Mia, and I can run up those hundred thousand steps in the film, up the mountainside to the church, and not be out of breath at the top, because I am so fit.
Well. I need this respite time. It is hard to adjust from over busy to under busy, but it can be done. It is rather wonderful, and as proof that I am utterly at one with the Ooops, Nothing Urgent To Do turn of events, I shall spend the entire day in bed tomorrow and have my sick son bring me tea and toast all day long.