Posted on July 30, 2017
A friend of the highest order,
five times my height and ten times as strong
and sweet delights
with the lightest touch
in his five star kitchen
a natural salesman,
who can resist
melt in the mouth
and his disarming
– I can’t.
We are all
under his spell.
clotted cream fudge
for the rest of my life.
It’s not just that.
when we used to
chatting and pushing the bike,
patiently talking me down from the ledge,
always behind me,
always believing in me
and even now
I can do it.
when you and Tanja bought that painting,
one of the first,
it meant more than anything to me
and still does,
when I see it in your hallway.
you & Tanja
floating at night
on a bed of
chocolate and raspberry ganache
(with mint leaves
in appropriate places).
The unrivalled kindness
of you both
thank you for being the sweetest.*
*in case you were wondering, this includes the too-much-champagne incident, and the driving lessons we
will never have haven’t had yet 🙂
Posted on July 21, 2017
Good things happen. They just do. You can’t stop them. They land like iridescent dragonflies on the top of your head, light and skippety, and they tickle you with their wings.
You have to open your eyes and look for them though, and it’s true, some weeks you have to look harder than others.
Maybe it’s been one of those weeks, maybe it hasn’t.
But in a spirit of determination, here’s a list of good things from my week:
Several commissions running concurrently, each with delights.
Two new paintings, and an idea.
A parcel of submissions posted out to an art director, full of hope and promise.
A shopping list of art materials, burning in my head, which I’m looking forward to buying.
Unexpectedly finding out that being kind doesn’t always fall on deaf ears 🙂
New music: A Blaze of Feather.
The garden and all my hopes for it.
Texts from a friend, who puts me back together every time.
A walk round the park, watching the dogs playing.
Seeing old friends today who live far away on the other side of the world, and finding again that time between get togethers is always irrelevant.**
My boy Felix is home today after a wonderful adventure, and looking forward to a good meal 🙂
Good things are a choice, but they’re always there. Be light, and skippety, and look out for dragonflies.
*This is good, so good. And also presents a few juggling challenges.
**And, I had the delight of sending two paintings back with my friends to America.
A Blaze of Feather, my new crush: on youtube here!
Though they will never replace my total best studio song ever: Move like you want by Ben Howard, which always gets me through.
Posted on June 29, 2017
Isn’t that what all art is about? A connection; some spark that flies across the chasm from one to another, and back again. A fizzing, electric meeting of minds. A catalyst, if you like; something to set wheels turning, minds whirring, planets aligning.
If I can make you feel what I feel, or feel something new, or feel something – anything at all – by putting pencil to paper, or paintbrush to board, or fingers to keyboard, then that’s everything for me. That’s all I want.
I’ve heard people say (in fact, I have said it myself) that they would create art all by themselves forever, if they had to. That the action of creating in itself is so compulsive, so compelling, that no matter what anyone else thought or said or did, they would still make what they are drawn to make.
True. That’s me, too. But there is a sadness in this truth, because creating art, or writing poems or stories or any type of self expression, in a vacuum, is quite dull. It’s certainly lonely, and one often feels invisible. And surely, after all, what we’re all looking for is the connection – the understanding that what you’ve created, I LOVE. That what I’ve painted or written makes you happy, or just raises a smile, or touches you in some way you can’t even explain.
So I guess showing people into my world at last weekend’s Open Studio event really was important to me, even though it was the scariest bit, and quite stressful in some ways, and not least because I was worried someone would fall down the loft stairs and die and it would be my fault and we’d have to sell the house to pay their medical bills.
No, you see, it was just so good to connect with people.
To hear how it is my work makes them feel (and it wasn’t all sunshine and meadow blossom, and that’s OK too. You can’t force these things).
To see with my own eyes that the fact I work my socks off is so worth it.
To feel that sparking connection with other people, in my own heart, which is now full up – right to the top – and brimming over.
Thank you, all who came to have a look around or a chat or a hug or a cup of tea. Or to swop some cash for a painting, or two. Or just curiously stopping by to see what was going on.
You made my weekend, my month, and my year.
And thank you internet friends – who sometimes come and go – maybe that’s the nature of it. But thank you for the smiles anyhow, while you’re here, and farewell, if you’re passing through.
I think I’ve ravelled all the ends now, and the studio’s back to normal, though with far, far, fewer pieces of work in it! I’m going to buy some big canvases and lots of gorgeous paint, and make a new series of paintings, when I figure out what it is I want to say next. And, when I can sort it out in my mind, I’m going to build** a new website.
*And who can hope to fathom the workings of a heart?
**Which actually means emailing help desks in America. I can’t code (yet)!
All photos: Juliet McKee
Posted on June 19, 2017
I don’t mean possessions, I’m not at all materialistic. I find money and things get in the way of the real stuff.
What I mean is the people you love, the habits you’ve formed together. The smiles you share and the games you play.
The odds and ends of life always turn out to be the best bits.
Alex and me have a thing for curling up on the sofa to watch some TV at the end of a long day – and busy evenings with the kids and their friends and everything else going on after work – we don’t usually get there until 10pm. If we’re not watching something together (and at the moment it’s The Handmaid’s Tale – which is another blog post entirely), Alex is so patient and will watch any sort of thing I choose, though he draws the line at hospital emergencies, and so I have to watch them from behind a cushion. Or sometimes I’ll draw and doodle while some film is going on. I’m very annoying – I ask too many questions about the plot, so that’s why I doodle instead.
I usually just draw whatever I can see; all the tiny, familiar but worthless objects that make a world cosy.
It’s nice. It’s boring. It’s love. It’s home.
Hold onto it tightly, and let all the rubbish fall away.
Posted on June 17, 2017
i made some biscuits
wrapped in paper
tied up with string
to the cake stall
at the church fete
i forgot to take them
i left them on the
i blame Holger
he got me so tipsy
and found it so funny
i am going to blame him for everything now
though i love him dearly
would you like to come over
for tea and biscuits
i have lots
Posted on March 13, 2017
Baby Tabitha and her Mummy popped in for a quick cup of tea. What welcome and lovely visitors they were – full of life and familiar, but forgotten perspectives.
It was so nice sitting on the floor in the kitchen. Things seem simpler down there. Tabitha thought the measuring spoons were the bees knees, and the egg poacher was popular too.
The old favourite baby toys are in a suitcase in the loft, and I could dig them out I suppose, but why bother when kitchen utensils are so much fun?!
Come again, Jenny and Tabitha!
Posted on January 9, 2017
Hello out there. Can I let you into a secret? Sometimes (often?) I feel like this:
But you know what? I planted those flowers round my feet, by my own hard work, and they are growing, slowly but surely. I’m making pictures and paintings and poems and stories and getting them out there, despite all the doubts and niggles. Those strange meanies don’t know what they are talking about, but their voices are sometimes loud and horribly compelling.
To prove that I’ve got this, (and I’m proving it to myself, perhaps!) I’m setting myself a challenge. A battle plan, if you like:
Post here on my blog every other day something which makes me smile. Something that went ‘well’. Something that warmed my heart. Something that speaks of ‘success’ – in whatever form that comes.
(I believe 100% that success is often just a well made, hot cup of tea, so with those achievable expectations, I should be OK, right?).
Will you join me and follow along?
I can do this! We can do this.
Hello! I hope you enjoy my blog.