I often wake up very early these days and instead of leaping out of bed to get in front of my easel or go for a rare run, I seem to lie there and do a lot of thinking, (maybe it’s my age!). This morning, I realised that for the first time in eighteen months, I actually don’t have any of those depressing dark clouds hanging over my head.
When I look back to when I first returned to the UK in 2009 to be with my Dad during the first bout of his serious illness, I realised not only how much I have had to deal with, but how much I have also achieved!
During the five years that my Dad fought his illness and spent many weeks in hospital and at home recovering, I managed to create a makeshift studio in his home, then when Dad improved, I relocated my studio up to Scotland, and painted for a group show in London and taught a workshop. I applied, got in and completed my MA in Printmaking, which frankly, has been a lifeline, thanks to the wonderful print room, and tutors and technicians and students at Cambridge School of Art. During this time, we as a group of printmakers put on various exhibits and I got my prints into the Bite exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. Whilst working on my MA (which included writing!), I also continued to paint for my galleries and various museum invitationals.
After Dad died I discovered an underground water leak that had been slowly leaking under the driveway and who knows where else. This just about brought me to my knees but I managed to stay standing. It took six months to sort out, involving multiple phone calls, letters and holes left in the driveway. Thanks to the lady at the insurance company who fought my case, I got it fixed, two days before my MA exhibition!
In addition, I made a couple of trips back to New Mexico and got to paint in my studio for a few months, which was lovely... a normal studio with space! After returning to the UK last November, for the Society of Scottish Artists exhibition, I then had to sort out my dear Aunt Agnes’s bungalow because she had decided to come and live with me in my Dad’s house. My Aunt had lived in her bungalow since 1959, so I will leave how much clearing out had to be done to your imagination! I painted one room and threw out a 'fair' amount of ‘stuff’ and had to move half my studio that I had cleared out from Scotland, back into Dad’s house…. anyone exhausted yet? We had a deadline to meet on the sale of her bungalow to pay off a loan that my Dad had taken out on his house and I wouldn’t wish that kind of stress on anyone.
I confess, I have felt very sorry for myself at times and wished on many occasions that I had been part of a larger family!! However, I am so fortunate to have a wonderful husband, some amazing friends and three lovely children who have supported me tirelessly throughout these last five years. So many played their part and I want to pass on my heartfelt thanks to them for all their incredible support.
My husband, Barry McCuan has been so kind and understanding. It’s not easy to be apart for so long, but he has been there at the really difficult times. His help with packing, moving and helping me with my exhibitions this last two summers whilst trying to do his own work for his exhibitions at Ventana Fine Art has been just incredible. Thanks to my two lovely and long term friends who gave me a bed to lie in during my long stays in Scotland and Cambridge. Newer friends in Cambridge have been incredible in so many ways that have gone way beyond what one could expect from such new friends. Thank you to those who drove miles to be with me at my Dad’s funeral and my MA show… knowing that some had come many many miles after attending a funeral made it all the more poignant. Thanks to Eddie’s Mummy who has let me borrow him to satisfy my need for the companion of a dog. I also want to thank my friend, who has managed to get me commission work, and to friends and family... yes, family!, who have bought paintings from me, keeping the wolf from the door, and those of you who provide lovely food, a social life and a bed during my stays in London and in Cornwall. Last but not least, to my amazing children who come to my exhibitions and were incredible after their Grandpa died.
I am now painting for an exhibition in Ely, near Cambridge at the end of this year and actively looking for new galleries as many of my galleries have now closed and I have so much more time to paint! My new studio will be arriving soon and I have been busy clearing away a section of the garden to make room for it. I am so excited. In the meantime, here are some of my latest paintings heading for the Albuquerque Museum Invitational this autumn.
|Summer Clouds, Summer Fields, Oil, 30 x 30 cm|
|Golden Sky, Golden Fields, Oil, 30 x 30 cm|
|The Spire and the Wheatfield, Oil, 30 x 30 cm|