Monday, 27 June 2011

Yes! and a Family Portrait

Hallelujah! I have been struggling through self-doubt for ages, wondering if there's any merit in what I create at all, feeling the glare of exposure as I show my developing work to the world, including people who were at this stage of their craft as children. It's been tough (admittedly, not in the way that mining or firefighting can be tough), but I'm peeping over the parapet now. 

A couple of days ago I sat down with a few child-free hours ahead, clear in my mind what I wanted to produce. Then I thought, No, I want to just follow my inspiration. And I made this:
Brush pen on canvas
5" x 7"

Incredibly, I wasn't interrupted, and I drew the whole piece without thinking ahead once. Every shape, every colour, was a surprise to me.  Occasionally I found myself thinking, I can't do that, it'll spoil it. So I did those things and they all worked.

So here's the crucial note to self: Just sssh your busy, clever little mind and do it. Trust your hands to make it right.

Hopefully you'll be seeing more of these soon... if my hands feel like it.

In other news, we spent part of our sacred weekly Family Day picking oodles of currants and berries from our allotment. Actually, Ent did most of the picking while I popped plenty into the baby bird ever-eager mouth of Ickle Pickle. Such a delight to fill her with divine spheres of juicy wonder. What was left by the time we got home was this:

 Hmm, we did eat a lot. Now they're all in the freezer (except for the gooseberries) awaiting the apple harvest so they can become God's own jam. We are lucky to have our friend's three bee hives on our allotment. And whenever we spot a swarm on the loose, Ent cycles like crazy to fetch our friend and we earn ourselves a jar of the most perfect honey. Beyond good. This year the apples were so heavy on the branches I knocked many off so the boughs wouldn't break. Had to explain myself to each tree as I went because it felt weird to deliberately lose unripe fruit, but many other creatures will benefit.

And, just because it amused me, here is a portrait of our family life as seen on the table before we made room for the berries:

Can you spot: pavement chalks (for sunny day graffiti); tea tree oil (for the nappy buckets); a string of camels, llamas and elephants; a pair of chimes; a fake pot of nuts which in fact contains a worm which bursts out with a huge screech; a cornet (destined for Ent's dad, bought from the Flea Market, which we can get nothing but hilarious farts out of); a bib; a carrier bag of spanners; welding kit in a treasure chest; a book; baby wipes; a book on geology (we just had an earthquake: 2.5 on the Richter scale; and (what home would be complete without) a crocodile.

Finally, this which I found on Terri Windling's blog:

Do please share this about, particularly if you will reach young adults. In my experience, it just keeps on getting better. Hope the same is true for you.


  1. Hi
    Love the picture but mainly got huge nostalgia trip from seeing your tub of pavement chalks. One summer when the kids were little they decorated the entire street, with a 'street scene' running down the pavement using some just these, they came in a tub exactly like that. The oldest was seven and really it was the first year they played out on the street, I would sit on the wall at the front of the house and watch them, they made loads of friends with the other local kids. It was a great summer. Thanks for the reminder.
    much love

  2. Their you are my love - Jo brand asking what makes people cry - that film did it for me. Life is fierce when you first face it alone. But what that film says is true. It gets better.

  3. Martine, that sounds ideal. We haven't progressed beyond our own garden yet, but I'm sure we will. They're only about £4 from The Early Learning Centre if you're tempted.

    Ent, you make me cry, usually by being so wonderful. I love how open your heart is. And you have made my life so much better. Thank you.


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