Sunday 30 May 2010

A Story Of Our Time for my website for my other website. for the exhibition A Graceful Death, paintings from the End Of A Life to email me.

A Story Of Two People For Our Time.

Tonight my friends, I will tell you a small story.  I could tell you a long one but I just don't want to have to think it all through.  Here is the story a friend told me today, in her own words and at her own pace. 

"There were two people, a Man Person, and a Woman Person.  They had not had easy lives, in that their choices had not always been the best for them and so they had had to endure the consequences of those choices. Both had not felt they deserved much, but knew, even in their darkest moments, that life could be better than this.

As life went by, the Man Person managed to find some Ladies to make him happy.  They did not last for ever, but while they did last, they filled the holes in the Man Person's life.  But people do not always spend their time making other people feel full up with Happiness.  Many lessons still had to be endured, and he found out too, that being the Top Brass in his job did not work, and this, along with other Factors In Life, made his current much loved Lady sad, and what with one thing and another, they began to stop being Happy. 

This hurt and dismayed our Man Person, who soldiered on anyway.  He tried and tried to make himself Happy, and tried to make his current much loved Lady love him again.  But it was no use, there were things the much loved Lady needed to cope with and she asked him to Go.

Go he did, and found small home in which to be sad and determined, and he bought it.  From this small sweet home he tried so many Ladies hoping one would stick and give him the Life that he Deserved. Which of course, he did deserve.  I should say here, that this was a very good and special man, and it was a shame that nothing was making him happy.

The Woman Person in our story had made equally  difficult choices for herself.  She too knew that there was more to life than the rather dark and disorganised one she had made for herself.  Unlike the Man Person, she didn't look for Men to make her Happy.  She had children and a sense that she was not Destined to Find Someone, what with her children and the fact that her life was really so very unpredictable on her own.  The man she had married had left her, and though that was fine by her, she was very poor and rather run off her feet.  All in all, she didn't really feel she deserved much.

Time passed and the Woman Person took her family away to start a new life somewhere far away.  There she met, quite as if a bolt from the Heavens, a Man.  Oh how this man and she loved each other.  It was very difficult, because she wasn't used to being loved and her children did not want anyone loving their mum, so they kicked up a bit of a fuss.  Unfortunately, the man died and left her feeling bereft.  The Woman Person felt that life was not something she was going to find good, and wanted to die too.

It was at this point that the Man Person and the Woman Person in this story met.  He found her and swept into her world ablaze with fiery zeal, to protect and make it all better.  She thought that Life had, perhaps, sent her a saviour.  Things progressed.  They progressed with difficulty.  She was heartbroken and defeated and he was heartbroken in his own way too, but he decided that maybe she could Fill the Hole he had never managed to fill for long.

Well, after much time, and many mixed experiences, our Man Person and Woman Person found a common ground on which to hold hands and tell each other that it was OK, they loved each other at last and this was going to Work.  There were sunshine days, and holidays.  There was the ongoing conflict with the children who still did not want anyone to love their mum, but with the help of the Avenging and Saving Man Person, the Woman Person blossomed and found she could be strong and she could stand up for herself.  And the Man Person?  Well, he was more complicated than he appeared.  He was happy, some of the time, but somehow, most of the time he was not.  The emptiness and the Hole in his Life just would not fill up.  He began to withdraw and she watched him do it.  He cannot love me, she thought, and she was right.  She cannot bring me peace and happiness, he thought, and he was right.

This is where the the Man Person and the Woman Person found they could not continue.  The common ground which they had found on which to stand and hold hands no longer held them.  The common ground was, possibly, not really there in the first place.  It was not so much Ground, as a Patch.  Too small, as it turned out, to stand on.  Too small, as it turned out, to hold them both.  Sadly, and with a reluctance that tugged at both their hearts, they decided that neither could fill the other up, and that much as they wanted to, neither was the right person to hold the other for the rest of their lives. 

So the Man Person, got into his car and cried;  after all they had hoped for, he was so very sad.  He really did love her  He could not see how he could stay while the children fought anyone who loved their mama. Eventually the Woman Person watched him drive away, and turned away back to her house to make a new life again."

The friend who told me this story is sad tonight, and so talking about it has helped.  She would not mind me telling you, as, after all, we all have stories like this to tell. 


Wednesday 26 May 2010

Mysteries And Imponderables. A Normal Kind Of Day Then. for my website for my other website, paintings of you and your family/friends/pets on a tube of your choice with a Jesus of your choice.  Just click the link and see, it speaks for itself for the A Graceful Death exhibition of Paintings of the End Of A Life to email me

Mysteries And Imponderables,  In No Particular Order

I wonder if there are infinate Mysteries and Imponderables for us all.  I wonder if we are only sometimes aware of them, like perhaps, once a week.  And for the time we are aware of them, we wear our Puzzled Expressions and feel that the world is Really Very Strange.  Then the usual day to day things take over and we are distracted from the Mysteries and Imponderables and get on with cooking the kids' dinner and answering the phone and checking the Hamster is still alive.

A quick word on the Hamster.  It is still alive and is now in Costya the Teenage Overlord's room.  Costya doesn't know this yet, Costya will be home on Friday and so the places the Hamster can Be inside the house will be all used up.  It will have to come back into the studio and I will have to spend my days with a teeny furiously hungry and dedicated white blob that thinks it is pumping iron on it's wheel and will build itself up into an Arnold Schwarzenegger type Hamster and bend the bars of it's cage to escape with a roar of achievement.  I am fond of the Hamster but I don't get involved with its plans. 

The Mysteries. 

  • I received a text from 13 Year Old Son last night that said "I hope she comes".  This was about 5pm and he was not yet home from school.  "Who?  Who?" I texted back eagerly.  Did he mean his new Love?  The Angel of the North?  His Grandmother?

  • The reply was "She's Here."  Oh my God I thought.  It is the Angel of Death.  My 13 Year Old Son has met with the Angel of Death after school and the dinner will be ruined.  "What?  Who?  Are you sure you are texting the right person?" I replied with eager curiosity.  And then there was Silence.  She, whoever she was, was there. 

  • 13 Year Old Son did come home.  The She in question was his friend's mother who had offered him a lift home, but I  didn't know that.  Not till the friend's mother came in and had a cup of tea.

  • I have just received a text from 13 Year Old Son from Bognor Station.  It said "no returns".

  • I have given up trying to understand him so I will leave it to Fate to sort out whatever that means.  The trains have a new policy of not selling return tickets?  The station has been warned not to sell him return tickets?  He will never return anyway? A philosophical statement that in life there are no returns?  He is telling me not to come back from wherever I am going today?  Whatever. If I see him tonight I will assume that he worked it out.  If not, then he gave me fair warning.

  • The Polish Grandmother has moved in and is barely here.  I believe she is with her deeply passionately sad Polish friend who is recently Single in Littlehampton.   The Polish Grandmother, who looks a bit like a more mature and very attractive Cheeky Girl,  is supposed to be working on the Lagness Chain Gang with other Polish and Eastern Europeans, picking and packing fruit.  I think she has either lost her job or is living a double life as a Secret Agent and is Under Cover in my house.  She is really a highly paid and efficient member of our New Governement's Polish Fruit Farm Pickers And Packers Crack Squad. 
So far, I have one main imponderable.

  • I received an email from someone this morning greeting me as Dear Rolls.  Why?  Has a certain ring to it but it looks like it isn't a nice jolly personal email from a friendly human, it is a Computer Generated Email and Very Impersonal.

  • It may be from the Polish Grandmother.  In Disguise.
I have just seen the time.  Today I am going to London to deliver a painting.  After that I am collecting 20 Year Old Daughter from her Aunt's house, and we - Daughter and I - are going to the Wailing Souls Reggae concert in Brighton tonight.  This is very profound.  A slight Imponderable is What To Wear.  Do I wear my Reggae Outfit to deliver the painting and say nothing?  Or do I go to the Reggae Concert in my Delivering Painting Clothes and say nothing.  I need one of those Rasta Hats that have the dreadlocks attached.  Then I can deliver the painting smartly and whip out the hat on the way to the concert and mingle with all the other 50 year old artists who have delivered paintings and are accompanying an exquisitely beautiful 6' daughter for an evening of Wailing Souls. 

Well.  No more texts from 13 Year Old Son.  I think he is probably at school, from which, if his most recent text is right, there is No Return.

Monday 24 May 2010

I've Been Painting Angels (When They Stand Still Long Enough Ha Ha) for my website for my other website about Jesus on the Tube for the A Graceful Death exhibition of paintings from the end of a life to email me

Angels Angels Everywhere And Not A Drop To Drink

And so on and so forth. The Angels are everywhere, but I am able to drink, that was just an artistic take on poetic licence.

I have been painting Angels on Pebbles and Small Stones. My supplier is Bognor Beach and I am not sure how long I can keep up with supply and demand, and for Bognor to remain a popular seaside resort. If the beach is bare and the sea doing strange things because the stones are not there to provide a ballast to the tides and whims of the water, because all the stones are in shops with goddam angels on them, the goddam holiday makers are not going to be sympathetic at all. But, I say in my defence, you still have Ice Cream and Chips. Is that not enough? The win win solution would be for the holiday makers to be provided with a grant of some sort to buy back the stones, replace them on the beach, and Bognor Beach would be the only beach where you had to run over billions of painted angels stones to the sea. There would be a knock on effect where the Moral Fibre of the whole of the South of England would noticeably rise.

Today I go to the Craft Shop in Arundel to sit and do my bit for the co-op that I have joined. Very good it is too. I will sit for the morning session and sell sell sell. I have a flask of tea, a pint of full cream milk and a blue and white spotty mug so I will be imposing my will and personality on the place from the word Go. (Don't mess with her, frightened shoppers will say. She has Tea.)

And the rest of the news? Well, things are looking up. I have now a Polish Grandmother who may well be younger than me (certainly got a better figure, and wears short skirts and high heels and small tee shirts and is very sexy), in my spare room at the moment. She does not speak a word of English. Not a word. And she has moved into an English speaking household. Our English speaking houseshold. Very brave. I like her and hope she will survive in the UK. I feel very responsible for her welfare as nothing on earth would make my childrens' grandmother go to Poland and wear short skirts and work on a fruit farm. Nothing.

Other things to report are -

  • The garden needs doing. This will be the job for the nice lady who I get to do the garden once a year. It is so overgrown and the grass so very high I wouldn't be surprised if she found a combine harvester in it somewhere.

  • Costya the Teenage Overlord is planning his next birthday in June. I want, he says, a full weeks partying with no slacking, and the 1812 Overture with cannons at the end.

  • 13 Year Old Son went a bit mad doing his French homework and nearly had to be sedated. He and the French Student wrote a speech in French and 13 Year Old Son learnt it by heart. None of the other students nor the French teacher expected a full seemingly off the cuff account of a holiday he and I had had in a posh Parisian hotel last week. Most of the other kids talked haltingly about their eyes being brown and their brother being called Charlie and their dog chewing on a bone.

  • I had a lovely time with my elderly Aunt from Birmingham who was driven down by my lovely Uncle and his wife to my mother's house yesterday. Elderly Aunt is utterly beautiful in a way that makes you want to write poetry. Like a tiny elegant sparrow. She was when younger, our most favourite Aunt to stay with. She was funny, bold, clever and let us do things like, in my case, wear her wigs. Blimey. And her false eyelashes. And we ate chips in front of the telly. She lived in a high rise appartment in Birmingham and painted a mural on the wall that took your breath away it was so wonderful. She didn't think it good enough so the next time I came, it was painted over.

  • She painted an eye on my tummy when I was little which was shut when I sat down and bent over and open when I stood up. Magic. She was utterly magic.

  • Once she saw some kiddies playing on their bikes innocently in the courtyard 16 floors below her from her appartment. She had bought her husband some whiskey and had kept the tube it had come in. She says she didn't know what made her do it - she stood on her balcony and boomed through the whiskey tube "This is God speaking. Clear off" and she said the kids playing below got on their bikes and shot off in all directions. Poor kids, she says looking sheepish and really wicked, they weren't doing anything wrong.
Must go now to the Arundel Shop. Wonder if there is a machine that can send out subliminal messages saying Buy The Angels Buy The Angels. Probably end up with lots of customers having unexplained epilepsy. But! It is Worth It! All for the sake of Art. (Buy the Angels..)

Thursday 20 May 2010

Well, A Bit Up And A Bit Down for my website for my other website for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the End Of A Life to email me

So. Maybe Up, Maybe Down. It's The Way Of Life

Today's blog is from the heart of a rather sad Artist, and an Artist who has had a good day. Isn't it funny, I would have thought if I was Sad, a good day would make me Happy. But it hasn't. Not that much. Let us explore this. Pour your tea, get the Milk Tray ready, settle yourself into your favourite armchair and tell your friends you will call them back.

What, we need to ask ourselves, is a Rather Sad Artist? Well, a Rather Sad Artist (RSA) is an artist who is required to think grown up thoughts and be detatched from being overly emotional when having those grown up thoughts. In the process of thinking things through, the RSA has to be careful not to look back on the life already lived and feel that it really Doesn't Amount To Much. That, under any circumstances, is not true. It may not amount to what was aspired to when one was younger, but it has amounted to something.

The RSA may feel gloomy about the past, and that, we are told, is not something one can do anything about. It is the Present, we are reminded sternly by Those Who Know, that has the Power. Having become gloomy about the past, the RSA is very affected by this Gloom in the approach to the present. The Gloom covers all, it seems. The Gloom is All Pervading. There doesn't seem much power in the present because the Gloom has settled on it and it all seems rather pointless.

"What," you ask with insight, "do you want, RSA?" "Ah," the RSA replies. "I thought I knew. But it seems that it has changed and I no longer want what I thought I wanted. I want... I want..." and there the RSA stops. She is unable to answer the question. What does she want? Well, an easy life and a house full of servants would help. Nice children that agreed with her on all things would help too. Actually, her children are very nice. Unorthodox, scarey, huge but very nice. If you don't disagree with them.

What else? To have money enough to make wonderful paintings and creations for the rest of my life. To not feel like the Odd One Out. Oh RSA, you say wiping a tear from your eye. How low you feel today. Tell us about the Bit of Up now.

My bits of up are as follows.

I sold the Angel. I have nearly finished the Birthday Commission and jolly good it is too. I look forward to painting Angels on Stones for Arundel and I am going to a reggae concert with 20 Year Old Daughter in Brighton next week. I have a bike. (Love it like it was my fourth child).

My hair looks clean today, Alan came yesterday and was nice to me, and I have heard from a lovely young girl from USA who came for Art lessons about 6 years ago. That little message from her was absolutely lovely to receive and it doesn't surprise me at all that she is doing very well indeed. She was a talented and extemely likeable student. Her Dad gave me a tiny piece of paper that he had done some Mathematical Workings Out on because I thought it was such a beautiful object. I still have it in my purse. Another world, Maths. I can only Look and Wonder.

And, Lovely Darling Scottish Friend Who Married The Nicest Man In Ireland (where I have just been staying with 13 Year Old Son) has got 7 distinctions in her Graphic Design course. I knew her before she was brilliant.

I shall go to bed now. I shall plod off into the house, like an Artist Who Needs To Finish Today and Hope Tomorrow Is Better. I shall sigh loudly as I pass the French Student's quarters, in the hope that he will wonder Genius Thoughts are going on in my Complex and Arty Mind, and I will pause and gaze wistfully at the Hamster (it is inside now, its wheel has been Sorted and it doesn't sound like a Steam Train any more). "Little Hamster," I will begin to say, and find that I am unable to finish the sentence because the Hamster is quite bonkers and there is no parallel to draw between it's little life and mine.

I will climb the stairs (Plod Plod Plod) and say a "Goodnight 13 Year Old Son" in a tight strangled little voice. 13 Year Old son is hard of hearing and will shout back "What? Can I have a Sandwich and some Crisps and some Custard Creams and a Cheese Toastie?" and I will ignore him and slope off into my room and go to bed.

One thing I did think of that cheered me up a bit - if I was Associate Royal Academy, I would be Antonia Rolls Associate Royal Academy (ARARA). ARARA it will be! Night night.

Monday 17 May 2010

Cancel The Art, Am Still In Oireland for my website for my other website for the A Graceful Death exhibition of Paintings At The End Of A Life to email me

Cancel The Art, Am Still In Oireland

Here I am at my lovely friends' house in Dublin. This suits me fine, I can stay here for weeks and weeks if I must, and send for my other two children and my suitcases and table cloths, and take it like a Man.

Yesterday, my flight was cancelled from Dublin to Gatwick because of the Volcanic Ash. "Oh No!" I cried trying not to look insincere. "13 Year Old Son and I will have to stay here!" And so we have. My friends are trying to dull my anxiety by making me strong tea with lots of milk, and saying No No No, You Go On The Computer First. We Will Fit Around You - and - Take As Much Milk Tray As You Like, We Can Do Without.

So all in all, it's better for me, if the truth were known, to stay here. It is much nicer here and my anxiety may switch to hoping my flight is delayed or cancelled again.

I am not that anxious. It is wonderful to be here, and really, all I have to do at home is earn a living and finish my paintings. And feed the Student who still hasn't complained. He sent me a nice message telling me to enjoy my extra time in Dublin. What a nice fellow. I had and eye test this morning which I can rearrange. I was going to pick up two paintings from Middleton Artist Friend and catch up on Arty News. Then I was going to finish the African Ladies On A Beach painting for the birthday present commission and do some more Angels on Stones for Arundel. Oh well. Just have to stay here and be looked after and fed and supported and loved and inspired and rested. Oh well. Like I say, Take It Like A Man.

A few words about the Dublin Friends. I have known my darling friend for years and years. She is supremely creative and inventive and passionate about making things. Her work is stunning and she has always inspired me. So, Darling Friend finds the nicest Irish man ever and marries him . They don't sit around with any old house in Dublin. Oh no. "Let us," they say to each other,"build ourselves and Eco House." And so they do. Two children arrive (one of which is my goddaughter and very proud I am of her too) (all my own work, she is) (only joking), and the diggers arrive, the plot is secured and in time, an Eco House is built. "Jolly Good" they say to each other, "now let us make it very fabby inside and so every friend we have will marvel at what we can do in and those in Bognor can find themselves breathless with admiration" . And hey presto it is done.

That is where I am now. I am off to have a Meeting with them both now, because they want to show A Graceful Death here in September or October. What have I done to deserve them? Dunno but I am not complaining. Put the kettle on, I am feeling Anxious again. (Sincere look).

Friday 14 May 2010

Off To Dublin This Weekend. And Why Not? for my website for my other website. A bit different, take a look for the A Graceful Death exhibition to email me

Dublin Now, Me Hearties. Off To Oirland.

And why not? I said above in the first title. Why not indeed. This will be a very small blog because I am so busy getting ready and trying to avoid doing anything too arty before I go and messing up my clothes with oils and feeling stressed about not finishing the arty thing and feeling on the one hand guilty about taking another 3 days off to trip the light fantastic, and on the other a feeling of euphoric entitlement that This Is My Due.

Even my sentences are breathless. Right. Calm down. Breathe - two, three - start again. Hem hem. Pregant pause.

Today, I am going to Oirland. I am taking 13 Year Old Son to visit my dearest old friend (apart from Eileen, Tasha, Gair and Hazel) who lives in Dublin. The visit is for me to see my dear wonderful gorgeous talented friend again (and try and persuade her to elope with me) and also to reward 13 Year Old Son for being so co operative and agreeable as I have had to go on holidays and fun days out so often recently. I thought a fun day out and holiday combined with him being with me was the best reward. And my ever patient, ever witty Dublin friend and family said, as they do so often to me and my lot, Yes.

So here I am. Full up with breakfast. Clutching my £5.00 voucher off anything except a flight in Gatwick, bags packed and all violent killing implements like deodorants, toothpaste, nail files, diet coke, sulphuric acid removed from my hand luggage. The fridge is full of dreadful carbohydrate laden easy food for the French Student who still hasn't complained, and for Costya the Teenage Overlord who comes home tonight. The student, mind you, writes huge amounts for his university in France and emails his assignments over to his tutors. Maybe there are coded messages in the essays, which amount to "Get me out of here. She is Mad and the food is Carbohydrate Laden" when they are finally deciphered.

Can't wait to see Dublin Friend! She has the Answers to the Universe and we shall have a little pow wow over tea and I will be Told Them.

Talking of which, I have a pot of tea in the studio next door getting stewed under the new pink glittery tea cosy I made. Eileen set fire the one I had before. It was a tea cosy over which I had made a neon pink fluffy cover and it looked like a very big, hairy, neon bug. After Eileen set it on fire, like a pheonix from the ashes, another more modest pink and silver tea cosy cover has arisen. It was time to change it anyway, Eileen was only following The Plan that Fate Had In Mind to make me do a new more useful teacosy cover. Better go and have the tea before something happens to this one.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Got To Paint (Sing it like Gene Kelly in Singing In The Rain) for the A Graceful Death exhibition for my webstite for my other website (have a look, it's good) to email me

Gotta Paint (chorus Gotta paint)

Graduation Angel, acrylic on canvas.
Ya gotta be one to paint one, I say in my best Chicargo drawl.

I do gotta paint. I nearly finished the Angel Portrait and jolly good it is too. One more thing to add, and it is ready. The African Ladies painting is next, and I need to put on a bit of Reggae and Miriam Makeba and wind a coloured scarf around my head and I am In The Zone. That needs to be done quick because it is in oils and they take ages to dry. I have put paintings in the oven before to dry them, or if they are too big, in my airing cupboard.

I am happy. My children like me this week, and I feel like Invincible Mama. Any problems you have with Child Rearing? Come to me. Teenage traumas? Pah! Come to me. My children seem to have come to terms with my shortcomings for the moment (like - say - my being confused, forgetful, eccentric, alive), it seems that their lives are either much worse than mine and I look like the better option to stay with, or their lives are so fulfilling that they are filled with Amused Tolerance when they think of me. Either way, I am a Nice Mama and seem to say all the right things at the moment.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked me and A Guest to his Garden Party at Lambeth Palace in June. Costya, my teenage son no. 1 (I have a Teenage Son no 2 who is 13, if you have been paying attention) made it clear that Rowan meant the invite to say that Costya had been invited and he could bring a guest and Costya just asked me out of the kindness of his heart. I had asked Alan first, but Costya could not see the sense in that at all, and so Alan, who would have found it difficult to fit the C of E into his busy schedule anyway, gave up his right to hobnob with the Ecclesiatical Top Brass, and agreed thatCostya could go. This makes perfect sense to Costya who thinks now he is going to meet the Crowned Heads Of Europe and probably God Himself. But if none of those turn up, at least he can have a free drink and a biscuit in the Archbishop's Garden. And he will be with his Mum who is he not at all sure is normal.

Off now my dears. 20 Year Old Daughter came home to me yesterday afternoon wanting to recover from the Trauma Of Life, which was easily sorted with lots of Hot Baths (and you don't have to put just one type of bubble/glitter ball/exotic oil in the bath at a time, the more the merrier etc) and Hot Food and Daytime TV and fluffy bunny slippers and so on. I need to get in the mood now, and Do some Art. It is, after all, what I am here for. (Unless you want some parenting advice).

Monday 10 May 2010

Is Too Much Fun Bad For An Artist? for my website for my other website for the A Graceful Death exhibition of paintings of the End Of A Life to email me

I Have Been To An Arsenal Match And It Was Lucy And Cecil And Olivia's Birthday Weekend.

What, as an Artist, you may say with a sigh, are you doing going out so much? Why, if you have so many paintings to do and so many writings to write, do you keep slapping on the sequins and rushing off to parties and holidays and having Fun?

My answer to this is I Am Only Half Way Through Them All.

In my diary, May has been marked out as Party Month since about February. I have chugged through from January to the middle of April with a dilligence of which you would be proud, but as the final week of April drew near I began to scent the month of May and the parties and weekends away; I began to stand straighter and throw open the windows and gaze at the birds flying high in the sky and say That, pointing at the pigeons and seagulls dancing high above my head, Is Where I Am Going. I meant it poetically, not literally. I wasn't going to dress as a seagull and go to London. I was going to soar above the dreariness of day to day life as an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis, as does a bird on the wing. I was going to Fly High in May.

So here we are. Two weekends have gone and I have been to Scotland with Alan for the first one, and I have been to London to Cecil's party and Arsenal v Fulham for the second. A quick courtesy visit back home to Bognor, checking that 13 Year Old Son has been fed and someone has provided him with a bed for however many nights (my elderly but graceful 80 Year Old Mother got the job because she knows about Feeding A Man Child), before gearing up for the next Foray into the Wild Blue Yonder, and weekend three will be taking 13 Year Old Son to Dublin for a weekend with my dearest old friend who lives and thrives there married, inevitably, to an Irish man. I have a weekend at home for the fourth weekend but it is not Home Alone. It is filled with Car Boot Sales and Elderly Aunts (no connection) (not selling one at the other) and finally, with a giddy and lightheaded gasp at the finishing post in sight, I am off for the final weekend in May, to Birmingham and Manchester to visit friends and go to a huge fabby festival type 40th birthday party of a Vicar named Rachel.

But, as with all good things, they can become addictive. Within 5 days of returning from Manchester I am going to Oxford with the Glorious Clarissa to check out the venue for the latest A Graceful Death exhibition in July, and the night I come back I have a party in London I have to go to. If I don't I may never ever survive. I think this is how Artists are meant to live.

So. How is the Art coming along. Fine, I say distractedly. Fine - I have finished the Angel Portrait which is very lovely. I am starting the African Ladies for the Surprise Birthday Present tomorrow, and I have been preparing more Angels on Stones for Arundel. I am looking to get an article published, and tomorrow I am attending an End Of Life Seminar that I have been asked to in my capacity as creator of A Graceful Death. There is much droopy and dreary paper work to do concerning funding A Graceful Death which I will do in between putting on the highest heeled party shoes I can find and, not at the same time, rushing to catch the next plane to Abroad.

I did get a nice surprise though today, I was sent a new book from a publisher that uses my Religious Work, because one of my paintings is on the front page, with a lovely write up inside. And Dear Old Dad sent me a copy of his parish magazine that has done a very loving write up of Jesus on the Tube on page 2, but Dad didn't put any postage on the envelope so it has come the Long Way Round to me, and I seem to owe Royal Mail quite a bit of money.

Before I go, I HAVE to tell you that Cecil's 50th Birthday Party on Saturday night in Wimbledon was FAB. Cecil wore the kind of dress you get your bestest friend to spray on you, and she wore it with her typical elegance and sexiness. Her shoes were higher than the Empire State Building and still she danced like Wow! Alan and I stayed with Lovely Lucy and her husband who I will now call Rocking Richard after seeing him dance at Cecil's, because the next day Lucy was taking me (yes, me) to the Arsenal v Fulham match. Bye Bye Football Mad Alan, Lucy and I are just off to the Arsenal v Fulham match. Catch you later (Lucy - did you get the beer and the dictionary of swear words too steamy to print on normal paper? Good, I have 13 Year Old Son's arsenal clothes, so we should fit in).

And because Life In The Fast Lane, where I am at the moment, is so busy and complicated, yesterday, the Arsenal v Fulham day, was not only Lucy's birthday, it was the Incomparable Olivia's birthday too. Oh Heavens we all cry, wiping tears of mirth from our eyes, what kind of life does Antonia live, what with all these Parties and Friends and Things and all Happening At Once too!

So. Excuse me, I have just looked at my watch. In order to be ready for Ireland, I need to finish my Art and look like I am an Artist who has holidays etc in May, not a Party Addict who does a spot of Art when she remembers. And, of course, 13 Year Old Son comes home from school soon followed by the French Student who is almost as hungry as 13 Year Old Son. I have to have a Whole Roasted Ox and Chips ready for them as they come in or they will turn into the Incredible Hulk from Bognor (and France).

Friday 7 May 2010

Whoops. Pressure Is On To Finish Paintings. Forgot About That. for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhibition next due in Oxford in July

The Pressure Is Not Only On To Finish The Paintings, The Pressure Is On To Start Them
As I ambled into the studio this morning, fresh from a jolly nice bath, I decided to meditate for 20 minutes to start the day as One Who Is One With All. "Om," I said (or similar. I do Transendential so I can't tell you what I say or God will explode), "Om." As is usual with meditation, I think, my mind started to go all over the place. I saw my diary filling up I saw the house filling up with bed and breakfast over the Summer and then - suddenly - I saw the end of May is nigh and I have two paintings to finish before then. Panic. "Omomomomomom" I said as quickly as possible and then thought Blow This For A Lark, I Need To Paint. So I stopped mid meditate and came in here to do the Blog and then go in and goddam do the work. Perhaps half my mind is orbiting Mars at the moment and I may produce an interesting couple of pieces until I go back to finish the meditating and welcome half my mind back.

The canvas and the wood for the paintings are prepared. The Oils are on the Oils Table at the far end of the studio for the big wood painting, and the Acrylics are on the Acrylics Table at the near end of the studio for the small canvas painting. The radio will be on and I expect all I will here about is the Election but that's OK. It is radio 4 and I must be clever to be listening to it.

Here is the rest of the news in bullet form.

  • While I was meditating the Hamster came out and stumbled around its cage and went back to its house. Why it didn't go on its wheel is a mystery and why it came out in daylight is also a mystery. I am always amazed that the Hamster is still alive, so I am torn between admiration, worry and confusion. So, it seems, is the Hamster.

  • I have had to change where I put my cash. I put it into the furthest teapot on the teapot shelf (I have many teapots, all on three shelves and I decide which to use depending on my mood). 20 Year Old Daughter did what all right minded daughters do, made me a pot of tea while I was coming home from Tescos, to give me strength when I came home and spent hours putting the shopping away. "Eeek" I said on arrival, "which teapot did you use?" "The one at the back furthest away from everything on the Teapot shelf", she said sweetly. "Why?" I showed her why. We went and fished around the teabags in the pot and pulled out some brown 10, 20 and 5 pound notes. "Ha ha!" she said delighted, "wait till I text and facebook all my friends and tell them what I did and where you keep your money ha ha ha!" I dried my brown notes and spent them as quickly as possible and so far there is no feedback in the press about some brown forged notes circulating in Bognor Regis. All my cash gets put into this new fangled thing now, called A Bank

  • I went to Scotland and 13 Year Old Son said Goodbye with his eyes on a level with mine.

  • I came back from Scotland 4 days later and 13 Year Old Son answered the door and I thought he was standing on a box. Goddamn he grew in 4 days and I wasn't even there to keep him fed. So even on starvation rations (a meal every few hours instead of every half hour) he grows.

  • Costya is coming home tonight. "I want to spend the evening with you", he says. This means Eyeball to Eyeball for hours while he tries to talk me into buying him a small flat in London/take him on safari/change my will in his favour.

Here, so that you can all relax, is a photo of Alan and me on our Highland Safari and Bob of the Kilt took the photo.

Aaaah. Tigger and Captain Birdseye on holiday.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Leaving The Highlands To Go Back To The Boglands for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhibition due next in Oxford in July for my website for my other website to email me

Back Then, To The Boglands

Here I am in the basement of the Crieff Hydro Hotel in the e-commerce room. It is our last day and tonight we fly to Gatwick and Alan takes the high road to Hurstpierpoint and I take the low road to Bognor Regis. The fun and frolicks at the Crieff Hydro Hotel are to be gently folded up and away and put in the Grand Holidays I Have Had parts of our brains.

It was such fun here. Alan and I arrived in time to have dinner on Friday, and to work out all the posh things in our room that we don't have in our homes. Like the mountains and play of light on the beautiful rolling hills we could see from our windows. Like the flat screen telly and the big big bath with toiletries in little packets just for us. Like the teeny fridge we could take out of the wardrobe and plug in, for the full cream milk that I carry with me on all journeys to the unknown, in case I can't get the perfect cup of tea. And the wide wide bed which meant Alan could stretch out and ease his troubled limbs (he is 6'3") and I could bounce around like Tigger with glee at being in a posh hotel and everything being clean and tidy and I don't have to do anything at all except use everything and chuck it on the floor because it's Not My Problem.

Alan and I went to see the gorgeous rolling lochs and hills and mountain type things on Saturday. On Sunday, oh joy, we went to see my old old university friends from long ago when I was at Aberdeen University. Have we all changed? No! Not a bit of it. My dear dear friend who is an eminent digital photographer and lecturer was as funny, kind and witty as ever. His lovely girlfriend and he have just had their first baby girl, and she was truly a People Person. Nearly two and speaking a mixture of Danish and English. That wasn't all her own decision, her mother is Danish. Danish Mum made us the nicest meal ever and made us all very welcome. It is wonderful to see Digital Art Friend with such a lovely life. We saw too, our teeny Shetland friend with her husband. Teeny Shetland friend was always beautiful in a fragile, pure kind of way and spoke with a slow lilting Shetland accent that could enchant you for ever. But Teeny Fragile Enchanting Shetland Friend was and is so so clever, and is amongst other things, a Phd. She works in Edinburgh, raises two boys and runs her own business. Fab. And she doesn't look any different to when we were at University in 1750 or thereabouts.

So Alan and I saw my old pals, and I am left full of happiness at the fact that they are all still there, all still absolutely wonderful and still seem to like me. Phew.

Yesterday Mr Bedford and I went on a Highland Safari with Bob. Bob works for the Highland Safari Centre and was craggy, wise, can't be more than about 60 something and wore a kilt. We followed a kilted Scot into the wilds of Somewhere and looked for deer, hares, frogspawn and the Meaning Of Life. Up on those high high hills, with the bitter North wind freezing ones eyeballs, we (or at least, I) felt I was put in my place with the splendour of things. And all the time, Bob wore a kilt. In very bleak moments, when the wind and cold made us think of frostbite in all the places that were covered, let alone uncovered (uncovered = eyes, nose and bits of cheek), Bob put on a hat. What a man.

I must go now, the hotel will log me out in a few minutes. I have booked a round of golf with Alan Tiger Bedford this morning, Glasgow this afternoon and Bognor tonight. Ach weel the noo.