Hello Human Beans,
Yeesssss! It’s still just about January so I can still wish you a very belated Happy New Year.
You probably weren’t wondering why I haven’t posted in a while but I’m going to tell you anyway.
There have been a series of rather distracting events which have caused me to down brushes and focus elsewhere.
First I closed my Whitley Bay gallery because it was keeping me too far away from the easel. Then, since I was on a roll, I decided it was time to move from my silly old house and into something more manageable. I’ve always enjoyed moving and change is good for an artist…but very suddenly, finding a new home dropped down my list of priorities when life, or should I say death, put the boot in.
Taking my young, funny and hardworking brother first, it knocked the wind from me to lose another sibling and, although we didn't see each other often (how frequent this lament must be when it is too late) I have nothing but good memories of him. I was still trying to process this loss when, also snatched away, was a gentle, charming friend who I will always remember as still supporting, from his hospice bed, the almost unsupportable Darlington FC. Rest peacefully dear boys: no more pain.
Finally, I lost my darling Mammy at the beginning of 2020.
For anyone who might have been following my artistic endeavours over the years, you may also know that alongside the painting, I’ve been closely involved in steering my mother through a long and difficult dementia. It started with care at home and eventually progressed to a residential nursing facility.
a painting of mother and daughter, 2008
Dementia starts out insidiously: losing car keys, repetition in conversation, until it picks up speed and eventually rages through the life of its victim until it has consumed all cognitive and physical function. It is devastating.
I could go on at length about the failures of the healthcare system for people with this vile disease and the way nursing homes are increasingly replacing compassion with corporate policy - but this isn’t the time or place, so I’ll just say that my Mammy (Piglet) was lucky to have some dedicated carers doing what I consider to be one of the most undervalued and underpaid jobs there is. I will always be grateful for their humanity.
By the end and, after an unexpectedly long sentence, I am so grateful that Piglet has finally been set free.
Mammy doing what she always did: holding me up and helping me to reach the good things that life can offer.
We all have to lose our parents and, so I’m told, it is only then that we finally become an adult in this world.
So what will I do as a grown up? For now, it’s back to the house move, I’m up to my scalp in packing boxes and wondering if I reeeeally need to keep the life-size pink sheep that lives in the kitchen.…?
Probably I do, so not a fully fledged adult yet then.
While I wrestle with these momentous decisions, I will continue to live somewhere near the sea (possibly in my car) but I have primed some canvasses because after an unsettling 8 months of not painting, I have an awful lot to download.
If you are reading this, thank you and I really do hope your year is off to a good start but if the rosy apples don’t easily drop into your lap, get on your tiptoes, stretch and you will reach them.
Always an Inspiration x