Monday, August 22, 2016

Almost there....

This is the last week of Dave's treatment. On Friday he will have finished the complete course of radiotherapy. Phew. He did it! 

At the start of his radiotherapy, he moved back to his as it was easier for him to do the daily appointments from his home just outside of Norwich, than from here in the wilds. I confess I found that change a bit traumatic and the weeks after were a bit hard. In truth, Dave has coped with his diagnosis and treatment far better than I. My physical and mental health have pretty much been in free-fall as I've struggled to deal with things. As a friend said over coffee and cake this morning, there isn't a guide book for our experience over the last eight-nine months. We've been dealing with things the best we can.  Some days are better than others. 

As always, I take the moment to be grateful to the loving support around me. Boy and his lovely have been absolute towers of strength. Z and LT have provided gin and wide shoulders at moments notice. The Lovely and Great Ursus have been ever present, ready to provide tea and cinematic fun. Julia, the fabulous poet kept a weathered eye on me and whose cheery messages lifted my flagging spirits so many times. Not to mention the denizens of Facebook who kept me chuckling with cheeky memes and general shenanigans. Not to mention my other friends who come running at the first sight of a window to meet up, who've understood the weeks of silence. 

The Mindfulness Course is fun. Of course I'm the unruly pupil, with my mind like a barrel-full of monkeys. Much of it, I've come across in different forms before, but the condensed version has been incredibly useful. The different meditations and exercises have been very difficult as my monkeys refuse to stay quiet for too long. Had it been easy, there wouldn't have been much point in doing the training. I had to miss last Saturday's session due to the cold that Dave so generously gave to me. I spent last six days feeling like Monty Python's foot squashed me. Bleugh. 

I've been continuing to Art and am beginning to feel more confident. It's funny, but I pick up the brushes and the pencils without much thought. With the writing and poetry, it's always taken a bit of a push and procrastination before I've sat down. I'm not doing as much as I would like, but that's down to the other responsibilities I have right now. I nearly gassed myself by using turpentine in my studio, this lead to a thumping headache and the purchase of more-lung-friendly solvents and a brush-wash tin. 

I'm continuing my abstract work, but I've also been working on my drawing skills. I don't particularly like still life paintings, but I recognise that it's a useful learning opportunity. I set up some sunflowers and got lost in them. Much to our surprise I produced a drawing that I'm really quite pleased with, I gave it to Dave. 

We had a fabulous weekend in London. There was amazing vegan food, outrageous cocktails, The National Gallery and a boat trip down the Thames. Van Gogh's Sunflowers took my breath away. I could have stared at the painting for hours. Unfortunately, the tourists were an absolute nuisance. And I also include the domestic visitors under that label. There were crowds of people around Sunflowers, all taking pictures of themselves or their friends with the painting. They'd then move off without pausing. It made my blood boil. 

It's not a pretty painting by any means, but Van Gogh captured the sunflowerness of the flowers with each stroke of his brush. The yellow of the background is almost gold against the yellow of the petals. It's just gorgeous. Don't assume that the paintings you see  in books are like their physical selves. Paintings have a presence photography doesn't capture. There's a rawness to Van Gogh's work that I knew because of his history, but it was only standing before his paintings (there are four in the National) that I really felt it. 

Anyway, it's time for me to put it out there. This is what I've been working on....
Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness detail

Interconnectedness II

Sunflowers

So there you are. My arting. I need to do it and it pleases me. I suppose that's all that matters really. Hopefully, the words will come creeping back in the next few weeks. I miss them.