Sunday, 12 January 2014

Back in the Studio with the True Fairy and a Plan

The True Fairy 1 is here, she flew into the studio and took shape and now will be taking her place in the house.  I have to find a way to fixing her to the wall properly, as she has been a bit temperamental so far.  She fell off the wall outside the kitchen this week, so I consider her strong and heavy, and take it as a sign that her character extends even to the wood she is painted on.  Strong, heavy and can bounce.

The True Fairy 1 is here
This week I am writing from my studio, wrapped in an enormous woollen blanket of the softest and warmest raspberry pink from Dublin, and a posh scented candle burning in the corner.  The True Fairy 2, three quarters completed, is on the easel next to me, and in my office, a certain order reigns.  The most important thing in the office, apart from the order that I have created at last, is the Plan that is sitting on my desk.  I made a plan.  My plan is flexible, and expansive, and good, and mine.  Outside, the sky is low, bleak and grey and the cold is biting.  My studio is warm, and silent, and kind.  I like it here.  This morning I queued from 6am in the dark and cold in the car to do a car boot sale. Oh goodness, we didn't set up till 8.30.  At 8.30 on the dot the temperature plummeted, the wind picked up, and everyone groaned.  As soon as the cars began to park and unload, the sky turned dark and no one could see properly what they were doing.  Perhaps that is why I sold a shed load of pieces of wood, old pots, place mats, plastic piping, off cuts, off casts, gravel, and wood shavings.  No one could see properly, it all looked very special and mysterious in the gloom.  No, I didn't sell gravel and wood shavings.  But I did sell my coat, so that was a bit of a surprise.  So no wonder I like my warm, silent and kind studio.

Which is just as well!  I have another lodger moving in today, who nearly couldn't because yesterday when he was due, he had no money. What a good lodger for me to have.  He says he has some today and can he move in at 3pm.  Yes, I said, and the whole household is waiting for him in case he loses it again in the next half hour and has to cancel for the second time.

A dear old friend from London arrived on the doorstep too, needing to stay and think things over.  She lost her job on Friday afternoon and by Friday teatime she was living in my sitting room.  That is why I am not on my sofa, I am in the studio, and thinking it a jolly good move.  So the warm, silent and kind studio is the place I shall come to as my house has filled up with people who need to live there.  Giant Boy seems unperturbed, he likes to greet new people by standing silently squashed in the door frame which is too small for him if he stands up straight, to prove how tall he is.  If they still want to live here with him lurking in door frames, I let them.  As I write, my niece has just messaged to say she is coming, and my other son, the one who was Angry Boy and now is not, who is Changing Boy, is also on his way here.  If this turns out to be a very long blog you know I am avoiding them all.  (I can't come and feed you all, I am on only page 25).

I told you last week about the need to stop, and now I am going to tell you about the need to start again.  There was no great moment of clarity, there was no sudden twitching of the limbs and shooting out of the door to rush about, but there was a decision that now is the time to move on.  I simply decided to stop resting and start moving again.  Having made the decision, I had to take tiny steps; having disconnected with my work for six weeks, I didn't know where to begin.  So that is when I made my plan.  My plan is full of spaces, as that is precisely why I had to stop before Christmas - no spaces.  Just the urge to do more and the fear that I was never good enough.  Oh well, six weeks out of the loop has given me some insight into that.  We can always do more, but if we are busting a gut already, we lose our perspective and go pop.  And as for not being good enough, well, it's great to improve, which is about positive expansion of mind, body and soul, not about neurotic navel gazing, which is fear based.  So, the plan now, for me, says amongst other things - At the end of the day, go and read your book.  And it says - At least 2 days a week are dedicated - dedicated I say - to painting fairies. Here, for both yours and my benefit, are the plans.  I will start with a special offer which you will love.  I need requests in by the 27th of this month to have them done by 14 February.

Special Offer that you will love.

Jesus on the Tube Valentine Offer.  Half the Price Double the Love.
The original Jesus on the Tube painting
Jesus on the Tube, by is a painting with a life of its own.  The original was painted 20 years ago, and has since then travelled the globe promoting discussions about Jesus in our world and how we relate to him and each other.  It has been used as a teaching aide by the BBC, Alpha International, RE Today and is used for teaching children RE in the National Curriculum. 

I paint portraits of families and friends with Jesus, at a station of choice, and consider this a wonderful example of Jesus moving amongst us.  Even Rowan Williams, when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, had one painted of him and his family.

 And so, linking Jesus, Valentine and Love -

Half the Price Double the Love Jesus on the Tube Valentine offer. Jesus is the embodiment of love, Valentine’s Day celebrates love, and so I offer you your own personal Jesus, on a Tube Train, at a station of your choice, with you and/or your friends and family, for half the normal price. 

Cecil and family on the tube with Jesus

Normal Jesus on the Tube prices start at £800, yours will be £400. Price includes framing and P&P.

Fortuna Family on the tube with Jesus

The first 5 people who contact me before Monday 27 January will be successful. Have photos ready, and choose your Jesus and Station, and contact me asap. 

Email me on and be one of the first five.
Size of actual painting is 5”x 5”, the frame will add a good few inches.  Painted from photographs in acrylic on paper.

Website –  Love! It works!

A Graceful Death News
  • AGD will be coming to Southampton for the day, taking part in "A Dead Good Day Out" on the 10 May in St Andrews Church and Hall, Avenue Road.  My dear friend and Soul Midwife Mandy Preece will also be taking part in this day.
  • St Peter's Church in Preston, Brighton will be the venue for AGD during Dying Matters Awareness Week, 20 to 24 May 2014.  We will be showing portraits of people facing the end of life, with conversations between me and the AGD portrait sitters, filmed by Eileen Rafferty, our AGD photographer and film maker. There will be talks, discussions, workshops on matters to do with death and dying and our reaction to it, and how we can face it in our families and our own lives. Sound Therapist Sarah Weller who is a great success at all our events, will also be giving one of her much acclaimed sound workshops.  We are also hoping to have the composer Lizzie Hornby playing the music she created for A Graceful Death in concert, on the piano. Lizzie's work is haunting and joyful and beautiful. Well worth coming to hear her play.
  • I am meeting a journalist tomorrow who is interested in covering this St Peter's Preston Park AGD event.  We are meeting in the evening after I have attended the ... 
  • Dying Matters Awareness Week Launch Event in London, called You Only Die Once.  I am hoping to write a small piece for the Dying Matters blog on AGD in Brighton, I will let you know when it is done.
  • Swansea in October/November.  AGD is planning to go to join Soul Midwife and nurse Keira Jones and her husband musician Jim Fox in Swansea, for an event covering more end of life matters.  This event will be full of creativity and music, and Keira will talk of her amazing work with the dying as a companion and loving presence.  Story teller Jade Parsonage Buck, another Soul Midwife, will, we hope, be coming to take part. 
  • Life Boards are back! If you think you would like to come, book yourself in.  First one is this Tuesday 14 January, 9.45am to 1pm. Next one is on Saturday 1 Feb from midday to 3pm here. Workshops are 3 hours long, all materials provided.  Here in my house or I can travel to you to do a workshop.  £30 per person.No more than 4 people per session.  Email me on                                                                                                            "Excellent after loss, a life event, or if you just want to see how you are feeling.  Excellent too after a change in your life, or if you are needing some time to think.  The Life Board Workshops help you to connect with how you are feeling now.
    Life Board Workshops are run in small, friendly groups.  Come and discover more about yourself using colour, words, images, all manner of materials, create a Life Board that reflects back to you more than you imagine. At the end of the workshop, we will discuss what it says, and you will take your Life Board home with you to remind you of how special you are."
Life board full of feathers and fun and complexity

Life board with wisdom on one side, beauty on the other.

  • A NEW DEPARTURE  FOR AGD.  Can you help?  I am developing a new way of working with the dying, using painting, writing, recording etc, and I am looking for someone who is facing the end of life to work with me while developing the idea.  I need someone who is interested in expressing themselves and using creativity to do so.  An unusual request, and an important one. Can you help?  Do you know anyone - or are you the person to help?   Please message me on to talk it over.
And finally.  I feel the time has come for a cup of tea.  I shall wade back into the house, my four lodgers, two sons, one niece, and one friend will have found a way to feed themselves, and I shall feign artistic distraction and go to bed early.  I have an early start tomorrow, off to London for the Dying Matters thing and the journalist, with Changing Boy and Distracted Family Friend in the car for the ride, at 6.30am.  I shall leave you with the face of the first True Fairy painting.  I like her, and she would have no problem having her tea and feigning artistic distraction.  I shall go now and do the same.

The face of the True Fairy 1 looking at you like she knows something.  Well, she does know something.  I wonder what it is.

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