It’s been a strange few weeks. It started with lower back pain, nothing really of substance, just a numb dull pain that wouldn’t shift. So I did what I assume everyone else does in these situations and ignored it! By the Thursday the pain was becoming a little troublesome and had started travelling down my leg, so time for a quick trip to the doctors, who were amazing and squeezed me in. An hour or so later and I was Googling ‘sciatica’ to see what was in store. I’d been offered pain killers but hadn’t accepted them as, to be honest it wasn’t hurting that much, but by that evening, my goodness me. My threshold for pain seems to be severely lacking and I was very glad to order some relief through the doctors.

It’s a peculiar thing not to be able to sit down. I can lie flat and still, and that is most comfortable, but moving again afterwards is just excruciating for a good 15-20 minutes until I think I just adapt to the pain and work through it. Once moving, moving is good and constant moving really helps. The danger, I’ve found, is overdoing it in that blissful hour when the medication has kicked in and you feel like you can pull out and hoover behind the sofa, under tables and maybe even consider some gardening. But boy do you feel it later.

In theory the whole thing is mind over matter. It’s a nerve telling you that you are in pain. There actually isn’t anything wrong apart from the trapped nerve sending messages. I remember being told before giving birth to breathe through the pain, to embrace the pain. I think if that person had been in the room when I was giving birth to my girl, not only would she have told in no uncertain terms that her suggestion was boloney but she might have been out cold on the floor! Saying that I have a choice: I can rest in bed and withdraw, wallow a little in self pity and hope that the pain will eventually subside; or I could just keep going, just keep moving and see what I can achieve in my current state. Disappointingly, ironing seems something I can do, as is cooking and cricket (to a very poor level!) I have very much enjoyed watching ‘Miss Potter’ with my girl who I believe could very well be an author one day. I can listen to my friend and provide a hug of encouragement. I can struggle with a maths problem with my boy, offering no help really at all but affirming him that he will get there in the end. I can listen and believe my man as he affirms me with kindness and love.

I think I’ve not only realised my threshold for pain is more than I originally thought but my capacity to help or to be useful through the little, seemingly insignificant things I can do means more to others and holds more value than I thought possible.

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One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how hard it is to leave my art work in a gallery or in its new home, especially if the pieces represent a personal journey of sorts. I dropped off the five completed pieces at the Emporium, Lichfield on Thursday and it once again took me by surprise, to the point that I had to explain why I was just looking at them and not moving or talking. The five pieces that are currently at Emporium I’ve called ‘tolmàō’.

Greek: tolmáō (from tolma, “bold courage”) – properly, to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk (“putting it all on the line”); courageously venture forward by putting fear behind and embracing the fruit that lies ahead for taking a necessary risk.

IMG_5784I said this on Facebook – I love that there exists a Greek word that needs nineteen English words to explain it!! But it exactly sums up what’s I was trying to say. Have courage. Go for those dreams. Step out from that comfort zone. You are brave. You are enough.

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IMG_5727I’ve had this idea, picture, in my mind for such a long time and at last I think I might actually be making steps towards starting it. Today I’ve been trying to work out which type of paper to have as the printed base. I’ve kindly had several sheets printed with various photos of people, or in some cases squirrels, with their hands in the air, and I’ve mocked what I want to achieve on a much smaller scale. The final results made me smile as these squirrels stand there, drippings wet with paint! We’ll see how they dry.

Yet another layer of paint was poured onto the canvases today. The results of the last soak staining was quite disappointing and looked washed out. A think maybe a layer of brown afternoon this blue one has dried. Brilliantly warm day for it.IMG_5731

 

 

IMG_5723I love this technique. I use it all the time and instead of allowing the paint to drip down the canvas I literally pour it onto the canvas and wait to see what happens. I felt the two sections were really separate and needed some sort of visual link to pull the piece together. I also love the way the paint clings to the edges of texture and emphasises it. The only problem now is that I can’t do anything until it is dry, and with the weird weather today, that could be a while. Lovely to have time to blog though 🙂

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IMG_5710On returning to these in the spare 30 minutes I had, the backgrounds were not as solid dry as they seemed when wet. Two more layers and some scratched text later, they hopefully will visually seem solid enough when dry. I’ve again added the red round the sides and top and suddenly, just as before, the colours seem to resonate. Pleased that those 30 minutes were spent in the shed.

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IMG_5684It has been just lovely to write words of truth over and over onto these pieces. Even though the individual words and letters cannot be made out, I know they are there: words that lift my heart and make it soar, words that I believe, words that remain when all else is uncertain, words that I can stand on. And, although it is so obvious, it takes me by surprise how my thinking changes and shifts when I focus on truth. My gaze lifts from myself to Him. My thoughts become clearer, hopeful and joy is near.

IMG_5699And as these thin layers build, it just confirms to me how, even though the layers of paint are fluid and in themselves translucent, together they form something more solid and substantial.

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IMG_5684For the first time in maybe eight years we had an evening without the children’s and therefore a morning without them too. And so nine o clock this morning found me in the shed, dousing the paintings with white and sharpening them with black. They are becoming different from that I expected, not as calming and more colourful, which is a surprise, but it is only the first few layers so anything could happen.