It was great to have a chance to talk publicly recently about how art can help a return to health after major illness. I had the pleasure of being invited to Estuary TV to talk with Emma Lingard and having blogged on this subject on this website I was very glad to share my experience of recreating life after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue/ME. Below is a link to the interview which starts at about six minutes in and will hopefully offer encouragement to others who have recently received a diagnosis and are struggling to believe that life will regain quality and enjoyment. Thank you Emma for your interest in life with chronic illness.
This gouache painting of a Thrush was done at the time when I first started to feel strong enough to be able to attend craft fairs with my paintings and has always been a favourite for that reason.
I first met Brucie a few weeks ago when his owners asked me to paint his portrait. I could see immediately he was a little dog with a big personality and given his owner was a keen gardener too we decided the painting should show him taking his morning inspection of his garden. This suited me perfectly and I took my camera and sat down to watch as he walked up and down the garden path checking each new smell. This is the stage of a painting you cannot rush as a dog will pick up on any tension you might be feeling and his body language will become stiff and uncomfortable.
The second time I met him was to accompany him on his favourite walk. I stay very much in the background, observing and considering how best to show him to best advantage. With Brucie it was easy as he was such a friendly easy going little chap.Back in the studio I began painting, a process which was interrupted firstly by a bad cold then by dramatic stormy weather which caused such drastic fluctuations in the light that progress was impossible for some days.
The finished Portrait which Brucie’s owners felt nicely captured his character.