Thursday, 11 June 2015

John's Paintbrush

I've been away. I've had a few days in Scotland. It's a long time since I've been anywhere on my own too. I usually have taken my son, or have gone somewhere with my husband or as a family.

It was pleasant, this time, going on my own and having some thinking time while I drove.

I went to Edinburgh to say goodbye to my grandma's cousin John. He lived to a good age and died at Ninety-tooo (read this in a beautifully lilting old Edinburgh accent) which wasn't sad, but he lived all his life with his twin sister and she is now alone which is sad. However, seeing his sister, I expected a frail old lady. She was frail, but she was also still her. She was full of life still. Fiercely independent, drinking gin and tonic, telling stories and laughing. How she always has been.

It was wonderful.

In fact, it was inspirational.

The twins were always happy, always laughing and making everyone around them laugh. Seeing them has always been fun, and their stories are/were as much about them doing daft things as all their life experiences. I'm sure there were other times for them, but this is my memory of them.

John was an artist and illustrator and the very first time I met them, he let me and my brother paint in his bedroom/studio. I think I was about 8. I never really did any painting before or after until last year.

I've been painting in my journal for about 18 months now and it's so therapeutic for me. It helps me to get some of my fears and concerns out of my too-busy-mind and helps me to relax and be happier.

I brought one of John's paintbrushes home. I don't know if I'll use it or just have it to remember him by. It's beautiful to me. (Twin sister thought I was crazy to find it beautiful!).

What do you think?

Here is one of my paintings, I call it 'Barnoldswick the centre of the world'. Literally there are maps underneath the paint and I have placed Barnoldswick in the centre. I was trying to express my fears of being stuck in a small place which often seems miles from anywhere. I love living here, and you have probably picked up how much I love my house, but sometimes I'd wonder if I was missing out by not living somewhere more cosmopolitan! So this fear and worry was poured into my painting and it has worked. I don't really think about that anymore.
Except my obsessive planning as to how I never have to spend another January in Northern England, obvs.
I know it is hard to see the detail above, so here are a few close ups.

Then there is another one. This is very personal. It reflects my fears around having another baby or not. Sometimes I think I should, sometimes I think I'm done. It's a hard decision as I'm happy with the way things are but scared to regret the choice and scared to make the choice.
I'm maybe not expressing myself well here but it's a hard thing to put into words. I found it easier to paint it.

I've used yellow to represent my cowardice and a large black unsightly circle to represent my knot of fears. It has helped me.

Maybe that is the secret to a long and happy life. To create something that lives on after you. To get all your fears and negative emotions out in some way.
I don't know the answer, but I do know if I live a life like John I will be grateful. I hope I'll get to pass his paintbrush on to someone else in sixty years too.