Friday, 26 April 2013

How to be busy, loopy and uninteresting all at the same time.

May is a good month.  Thanks to a dear friend, who is a colleague, Palliative Care Nurse and Soul Midwife all rolled into one, I shall be taking AGD to St Catherine's Hospice where for the first time, it will be shown in a Hospice.  This is to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week.  Not all of the paintings will be showing, I will leave behind the very challenging ones as I can understand that they will be too difficult for Hospice patients to see.  Please come and take part in the opening event, where I will be giving a small but exciting speech about the exhibition, and the details are below -

13 May, 4.30 - 6.30 at St Catherine's Hospice, Malthouse Road, Crawley RH10 6BH

The exhibition runs from 13 to 15 May, and the public are invited on the 15 May. 

 And there is more!  See below for the poster advertising a fund raising event for the exhibition in Chichester.  I am delighted to have the help of Mandy Preece, a very experienced and loving Soul Midwife, to come and talk about her work.  At this do, I am introducing the range of cards and thoughtful gifts called, now, Graceful Gifts.  I have moved on from last week's name of Graceful Goods, and with expert advice have rebranded the enterprise Graceful Gifts. I have been blessed with the support of Giant Boy who looked up some with sympathy quotes and came up with the following -

Losing a cat can be tough. Feel free to borrow my pain in the butt any time you want.

He has been sacked.


A Graceful Death Exhibition
Paintings from the End of Life by Artist and Soul Midwife Antonia Rolls

~ Fascinating, Moving, Loving and Inspiring ~

 This mini version of the A Graceful Death exhibition consists of portraits by local artist Antonia Rolls, of people at the end of their lives. The paintings are full of life, love, colour and truth. Alongside each portrait is an interview, which tells us who we are looking at, and who we are visiting. The exhibition aims to help start a conversation about what it means to face our mortality, and how normal the process is. And how, until we die, we are very much alive.
Antonia will speak about the work she does with people at the end of life through art. She will be speaking about the sitters in the portraits and the stories behind them. Soul Midwife, Mandy Preece, will also speak about the work she does as a compassionate companion to the dying and on the art of sitting in vigil with someone at the end their life’s journey. Antonia works with Mandy and other Soul Midwives and is delighted to have the help and experience of Soul Midwives within the exhibition.

A Graceful Death travels around the country and has had wonderful reactions from the public:

Thank you for inspiring and providing help through painful experiences for me and so many others. Never hold back because it is the truth in this art that makes it so beautiful.’

‘Extremely moving; extremely honest. This show must be seen by many people. Death and cancer are with us. It's unpleasant and frightening but this series of paintings helps us deal with those emotions in a positive and wholly honest way.’

‘Thank you - I have his picture permanently open on my computer and keep looking at it every two minutes. You have just caught his expression so well. I am overwhelmed.’
The Graceful Gifts range of cards and gifts will also be available for sale.

                                              2–4pm, 18 May 2013

The Studio, New Park Community Centre, New Park Road, Chichester PO19 7XY

£5 entrance fee. All proceeds will go towards funding the A Graceful Death project


 I have been working hard this week.  I am aiming to finish Julia's portrait within the next few days, and Mike's portrait by next week.  I am singularly uninteresting at the moment because I have been sitting for hours, and hours, and hours, in the studio breathing in white spirit, muttering to myself and feeling a bit loopy.  Most of the time I have been squinting at the canvas and worrying that Julia's arms look too much like those of an Aberdonian fisherman.  One of her arms was about twice as long as the other, with a huge hand at the end of it. I didn't see until I stood back and appraised it.  Thank Heavens I did.  Julia has enough to deal with, with her MND, without having one of her arms long enough to drag on the ground, if it fell off the cushion on which it rests.  One of the things I want to show with Julia is how her arms and hands rest on cushions, she is no longer able to move them.  The muscles have wasted and their shape has altered very subtly.  I want to get that right.  Julia has a lovely face and smile, and cannot move her upper body at all.  I want to capture how when you see Julia, you know that her arms won't move.  It is very poignant and very important.

Perhaps the most exciting thing this week is the selling of items from my garage on eBay.  Good Lord, I had no idea how exciting this is.  Someone called Mahmood came and bought my hose pipe, in a van, and I felt ridiculously grateful.  And I sold some copper pipes to a man called Mike, so actually, even though I have very little to say at the moment, life is as diverse as ever.  I am selling a bed to someone on Sunday, and am beginning to see everything in my house with a little price tag on it.  And I do not need to speak much for any of these transactions.  I can continue to be uninteresting.  I sold a large hedge trimmer to a very pregnant lady who when she came to collect it, told me that she was due to give birth in two days time.  "I am nesting!" she said with a jolly giggle, and I wondered what kind of nest she was building.  Do not, I remembered from my own experience of being pregnant, mess with a lady just about to go into labour who wants to own a big, sharp, electric hedge trimmer.  I wish her and all those around her, luck.  

And now.  My days of going into labour with a hedge trimmer are over, my hosepipe has gone to another more needy family, my copper pipes have probably been sold on for a small fortune and so, probably, has my hose pipe.  Julia's arm and hand has been repainted to match the other one, and I shall go to sleep now dreaming of selling whole chunks of the house to people in vans, who do not need me to speak or to be interesting.  Good night my dears.  Do come to St Catherines, and do also come to the exciting AGD event in Chichester.  I will be unbelievably interesting by then, and you won't regret it.  Oh, and you can come with a measuring tape and measure Julia's arms in her portrait, to make sure they are no longer a cross between Popeye and Mr Tickle.

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