the last months since November have been packed full with all manner of things, visit to Wales. Fabulous lunch at The Greenhouse. London museums and gallery visits, the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy being one of the most inspirational I have seen in a long while. Firle church and an evening of music, words, dance and ceremony with Carolyn Hilllyer to see in the solstiice, and on the solstice a wonderful evening organised by a good friend Ali, journeying to sounds of a Mongolian throat singer and gong bath. Then of course Christmas and the handmade presents I usually do, this year it was books, hand made and hand bound. A new skill learnt which I love the precision of the bindings themselves. Sourdough breadmaking course at the Bicycle Bakery, which I made many tasty loaves Then it was needle felting families of dreaming mice, each one had a prayer for manifesting peace and serenity in all areas of life and then a fabulous sleepy dreaming bunny, this has now grown into a rabbit figure which has conjured up clothes, characters and a book. A fabulous christmas lunch of Haunch of Venison cooked to perfection by my daughter and an illuminated walk at Bedgebury which was quite spectacular All the while though there has been my daily practice, patterns and watercolour and collage.
Oh and of course it was my 70th birthday last Friday. I had a fabulous couple of days, so many lovely cards, flowers and messages. A gift from daughter and her partner, one for for each decade, so seven beautiful gifts including a poem that bought tears to my eyes. I also spent a lovely evening and breakfast walk along the seafront at Hastings after a night at The Laindons which I thoroughly recommend.
What it is like being 70? the best feeling in the world, freedom to do and be who you like, fabulous.
Here are a few glimpses of the past weeks
Since my days have become my own to choose what i do, I have been experiencing elation !! I just cannot believe why I continued to work for so long !! as always I am trying to build a daily practice, but consistancy is not my forte and although I am managing to keep a flow of writing my daily pages and trying something creative most days, my oil painting seems to have diminished. Think I am trying to do so many things including downsizing all my posessions, that in itself has been overwhelming. “one room at a time ” is my motto and I am slowly getting thought it all.
At the moment the easiest thing to do is reach for my watercolours and gouache as I can just sit down and do something quickly without too much fuss. Here are some of the outpouring.
My new year resolution of sketching daily is moving along but not quite daily, but while I am away its seems to something I am drawn to. Max Richter’s music has certainly moved something within, long may it last.
I have seen many ballets within this rich tapestry called life, a aficionado of dance, not by any means but the thrill that music and movement can instil is unforgettable. I have seen the proud somewhat arrogant Nureyev bring the audience into a frenzy to the graceful elegance of the long limbed Sylvie Guillem but nothing in all these years has moved me so much as Wayne McGregors’s Woolf Works. Plus it was a live screened performance from The Royal Opera House, sitting in a cinema !
A ballet triptych describes three books, which takes you through life from an ageing perspective, looking back at the vibrant memories of 1920’s England in Mrs Dalloway, to the energetic, fast moving dynamism of youth in Orlando, then finally to death with The Waves. By the end I had been through so many emotions, my heart had been pulled this way and that and at times felt it would leap from my chest. I felt expanded, exhilarated, as if my body had filled the auditorium.
I watched mesmerised as the dancers moved with such grace and ease, their limbs, muscles, tendons showing the strength needed to perform such a strenuous ballet, especially in Orlando. So many avenues of thought and feelings erupted
Then came the rhythmic hypnotic swelling of the waves, not only in the music of Max Richter but the dancers and the compelling back drop of raging foaming seas in in slow motion as you watch and hear life ebbing away. Actress Gillian Anderson reads Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter written to her husband before she drowned herself in the River Ouze, the words so moving in themselves.
I have now listened to this so many times since seeing the ballet, downloaded from the trusty itunes. Its stunning, moving , haunting and magnificent and so much more. This week sees the start of my week in Totnes and this mornings playing produces these quick impromptu sketches and I can see this is going to inspire the senses in many ways as the days,weeks and months roll on.