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Friday, 14 December 2012

And so.  I sit in my warm home on the sofa with blankets round my shoulders and knees, listening to the rain outside.  I have had my breakfast, unfortunately, so I can't have any more.  I love eating, it cheers me up no end, and now, having had just the one breakfast, I am moving into work mode.  What is my work, you ask with a serious and curious expression?  Tell us, you say, sitting down and making yourselves comfortable.  Well, I say, my work is thus...

Illustrating

I am illustrating a new children's book about a little girl witch and her poodle dog.  I have created the character, and have given her lovely rosy cheeks and masses of auburn curls.  It has been great fun making her, and painting the woodlands in which she lives.  I have been allowed to wander into an enchanted world with this little girl witch, and feel as if I am enchanted too.  She wears red doc martens boots.  In the studio, I speak to this little girl character and ask her to come and reveal herself, and to help me to paint where she lives.  All very much in keeping with the idea that the creative force comes from outside, and is divine.  It is not you who owns your gift.  It is given to you from above.  Or beyond.  You are lucky that it speaks to you, and that you are able to receive it.  The ancients called it your Genius, but it was not living in you making you a genius, so no false pride and conceit there.  Nope.  Not you at all, so man up is the advice given, and be nice to your gift which chooses you, not you it.  You ask for it to come and inspire you.  I have taken this idea on board with gusto, and find it an enormous relief not to have to be responsible for the paintings that I do.  I sit there, prepared to do the work, and yell for the divine creative thing to come and inspire me.  Thanks very much, I say afterwards, when it works.  You were fab.  And if it doesn't work, I say, well.  You weren't much help today.  And then I remember it chooses me not I it, and say with a placatory and winning smile - perhaps I wasn't listening properly!   Not your fault! Thank you very much, please, and thank you (in case the divine muse has feelings and can sulk if I am not polite).

A Graceful Death

I have had an idea about the funding.  I will ask for sponsorship from charities, companies, individuals for each individual painting.  If I am working with someone who has cancer, for example, which I do a lot, then I will apply to a cancer charity to fund the painting.  I will ask for help painting by painting.  How about that for a simple idea?  I am very excited about the possibilities this creates, and perhaps a link with appropriate charities will be good for me and a link with an artistic project that highlights, with love and clarity, how normal and human it is to die, will be good for the charity. Or individual.  Or company.  I don't want to stand in your way, any of you.

I am delighted to be working with two new people in January, both of whom have Motor Neuron Disease.  This will be my first experience with MND, and I am looking forward to learning about it through the people I will be painting and interviewing.  There are also two cancer sufferers, both of whom are gloriously articulate, joining the exhibition. I hope to be arranging an AGD exhibition and Soul Midwife event in Bridport Devon, in early 2013.  I will show the paintings there, and have ideas about the Soul Midwife part of it.  See below.  I may need reigning in.

A Graceful Death needs one more painting about Steve from me.  It needs a final painting to close the whole story.  I don't know what I will do yet, something will come.  I want to do something about his funeral, which was perhaps the worst thing about his death.  I want to do something to lay that experience to rest, and face that particular ghost.  It makes me uneasy to think about it, but it has to be done.  I will have to sit in my studio and call out politely to my Genius that I am here, sitting, ready, any time now will do for an idea, thank you very much, please and thank you.

Other Stuff

Angels.  I am painting Angels for Christmas, some very lucky people are going to receive some personal Angels commissioned for them by loving friends and family.  I say lucky people, not because they are going to receive an Antonia Rolls painting though of course, that could be a very nice thing. They are lucky because someone has thought of them in such a lovely way, and taken the trouble to commission a painting that they may keep, just for them.  I like my clients.  I think they are very kind people.

I went to London yesterday to help Felicity Warner to run a master class on Soul Midwifery.  It was lovely to see her again, and some old friends were there too.  Bex, my wonder woman, wise lady, Soul Midwife and now Director of the charity Rainbow's End was there as was Nigel, clever, compassionate and wise community palliative care nurse and Soul Midwife Nigel.  The whole day was enlightening, and Felicity and I did a question and answer interview kind of thing, where she spoke of all sorts of angles and aspects of her work.  It worked very well, but of course I wanted to keep talking and not stick to my questions.  I wanted to carry on when it was finished, because it seemed to me, that there was at least 14 hours more of talking to do.  However, I bow to Felicity and agree that one hour was enough.  We may still be there, if I had my way.  Lock us all in, I may have said to the staff who came to lock up the building at closing time, they may all look tired but I have not finished with them yet.  I have more to say, and more to ask Felicity, sit up and pay attention, this is for your own good.  You know you want to.  Perhaps Felicity will do that with me in Bridport, for the AGD exhibition and Soul Midwife event I want to produce there.  It is possible though that she will organise that part of the proceedings, as this may have alerted her.  Not 14 hours, she will say sternly.  Not even if you provide chocolate and cocoa every hour on the hour.  You can have a normal amount of hours and if you don't stop asking me questions and interviewing me I will put a paper bag over your head.  That will be your signal to stop. 

I have found my lovely Age UK lady who I visited.  She went into hospital, and it became confused as to where she was and whether she could receive visits.  I have missed her, she is fun, witty and very beautiful.  I went to see her this week at last, and she has been very ill.  I am going to see her again today, and will take her something lovely to look at.  She is not feeling very good, but is being wonderfully cared for by her family.  I wish I could make her feel better, it must be dreadful to be ill when you are old.  She is much recovered though, I am told, and so I hope she continues to progress.

The rain has stopped and the blankets have made me warm and sleepy.  But up I must get, and go and visit my lovely Age UK lady.  I think my Muse has a hand in other things than painting.  I think my Muse has stopped the rain in order that I have absolutely no excuse to stay sitting wrapped in spotty blankets on my sofa by the radiator.  No excuse at all.  My Muse is also arranging for my car to start first time and for the traffic to be non existent so I had better get myself up and on my way.  Thank you very much, please, and thank you.