Thursday, 26 February 2009

More Delays

I did the school-run, had a couple of official phonecalls re. our current awkward situation, went to work, painted for less than an hour on the third (first) painting - the grumpy one - and was phoned by the school to pick up my youngest daughter who they thought was about to have an epileptic fit.

I took her home and she was fine - perfectly well and healthy. So my day is wasted, I'm already tired and in the next five minutes or so I have to go back and do a night stint to catch up.

I don't have time for this.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Too busy to speak, eat or think - but not too busy to smoke and drink...


I am working myself into the ground as the deadline for the BP National Portrait Award looms. I could do with another two months. I have two weeks. I can't see how I am going to be ready in time. Lots of late nights and early mornings.

Sleep is overrated...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Start of School Half Term

This morning started the same way as a holiday always starts - with my kids arguing. It takes them a few days to get used to being around each other. Usually I can cope with it but there simply are not enough painkillers in the world to stop me caring about them fighting. My hubby is working on his boat today and won't be back until much later so I had no help.

My only consolation was that in a brief lull from my kids' tirade, I heard my next-door neighbour in her bedroom shouting '...if you two can't get on...' to her own children.

Guess it isn't just me! Happy Valentine's day!

Friday, 13 February 2009


Big panic today, trying to get my entry form for the BP National Portrait Award in before the deadline. I filled in all the relevant details but when I clicked on 'proceed', nothing happened. Repeated clicks produced nothing. I called the NPG and they said they'd had 60 successful entries today via their online system (too much competition for my liking) and that maybe I should try using a friend's computer. I rang a friend I trust who then filled in the forms on my behalf, but with much larking around (which she would not have done, had she been within strangling reach) and she was able to send my entry off at last.

I am relieved. I had a lot of pain last night which I put down to not keeping on top of my meds - they have a cumulative effect and I missed two doses the previous night. As a result, there is no way that I could go out today and post my entry. I also did too much housework yesterday. I probably should not have hoovered. It is hard to ignore it and I have itchy feet and fingers, desperate to do things. In the meantime the pile of washing that needs ironing, folding and putting away grows bigger and bigger...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Enforced Time Off Part 2

It hurts.

Today may have to be a morphine day.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Enforced Time Off

Yesterday I finally came out of hospital. Shortly after my return from the funeral I had extreme pain and had to call an ambulance. On the Saturday I had a CT scan and was told I had a kidney stone. They sent me home with some pain killers but later on that night the pain came again and the painkillers might just as well have been little tablets of air for all the good they did me. The morphine at the hospital (following another trip in the ambulance) worked a lot better and on the Sunday they operated on me. They couldn't find the stone. I had evidently already passed it but the stone and the op had damaged the tube from my kidney to my bladder and caused a blockage and I had a third night of bad pain while my kidney held on to a litre of water! It seems to have cleared now so I am recovering at home, with strong painkillers. An X-ray showed that the stone has definitely gone.

I do not know how I am going to get the National Portrait Award entry completed in time for the deadline. I can't do anything more this week as I cannot sit or stand for more than twenty minutes without having to lie down and recover but today is already much better than yesterday. I am itching to get on with things - even the hoovering - but am trying to hold back as if I have another blockage, it will mean another two operations; one to insert a stent and one a week later to remove it.

I've had enough of being interfered with! I want to get back to the studio. At least I can lie down there now if I have to have a break. The futon is very comfortable. I took it down there so that my models can use it to pose for life paintings and also so that when I am editing my novels I can do so in comfort, with a nice cuppa...

Friday, 6 February 2009

The National Portrait Award 2009

I am continuing to work hard on part three of the triptych. Part one still hasn't been started and there is still work to do on part two... and I only have a couple of weeks left. Of course I'm not panicking.

The nice thing is that I don't have time to fiddle with it. I usually become too pedantic and lost in the detail but now the way I am painting is changing and it constantly surprises me that it happens without a conscious decision to change. Art evolves and the changes are exciting, a mystery tour where the destination is unknown. I love that my style is changing on its own, but unfortunately it makes me loathe my old work. I am now considering throwing some of it away or painting over it - I can't even bear it enough to want to flog it to someone.

I guess I'm evolving too.

In the meantime, it is the rerun of the funeral today - assuming the snow holds off for long enough. I am not looking forward to it but at least I get to spend some precious time with my mother.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

I Love My New Studio!

Have I mentioned that before?! I really love it. It is my favourite place in the world and I long for it every moment I am away from it!

Yes, okay - I'm strange. Normal people don't feel this way about their workplace do they?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

There's Snow Room for Mistakes

My stepfather's funeral was cancelled due to the snow - personally I think he would have found it humorous if we had sent his coffin down the road to the church like a large toboggan, friends and family scattering...

The snow stopped everything - except my work. As my husband was unable to get to work and so provided free childcare, I was able to spend many hours down at the Art Centre and be the first to walk on the lovely unspoiled fresh snow. The paintings are coming along nicely although I am stressed about the deadline.

I'm also looking forward to doing a bit of teaching. I'm still in the process of trying to work out in what order to tackle things, but I will sort it all out in time for the first lesson.

For the last few weeks, I have been doing most of my work at night, as days are taken up with calls to and from Solicitors, Adult Protection, Social Services, The Public Guardians Office and also all that childcare malarkey. It was nice yesterday to be back there with people. Peter Reeds suggested that I bring my student up to see him at work so 'she can see what a real artist can produce' and I said that it was a good idea as I didn't want to set standards at too high a level and that she would need to feel the goals were easily achievable... then we giggled for half an hour.

I've missed the banter!