2 April 2014
Cycled along the river to my studio this morning, beautiful
30th December 2013
An unexpected lunch in the Autumn sun with my step-sister’s husband… a casual question about the skiing they do as a family… within a few days a skiing trip is being organised! My 3 teenage children and I are to stay in their friend’s apartment in the village of Montchavin in the French Alps for our Christmas break. Plane tickets, train tickets, thermals, ski jackets, salopettes, ski pass, ski lessons, hire of equipment. Oh my, not a holiday to be taken lightly, Ebay was very helpful.
The last and only time I skied I was 19, the same age as my eldest son, a spur of the moment trip to Switzerland to join a group of friends already there. I had a fantastic time, loved skiing and thought that was the start of a new sport for me, but a couple of years later I met the man who became my husband (now ex) and the father of our children and skiing was absolutely not on his agenda.
I carried my small sketch book in my pocket and drew up the mountains every day. Sometimes Gaby, my 14 year old drew too, beautiful sensitive sketches; Max, the eldest drew in the evenings – abstract images but very influenced by the mountains. Jerome just skied and skied until he dropped.
Ist day and the 1st of 4 lessons with Cyril our brilliant and talented instructor, very quick to understand our individual characters and abilities, told us he would be “like your Grandaddy, I don’t want to see any of you hurt”
Christmas Eve was magical, the professionals skied down the mountain with torch flames, Father Christmas arrived with them in a sledge pulled by huskies with sweets for the watching crowd. Fireworks on the mountain side followed by mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Christmas Day, on top of one mountain looking over another
On the last morning, Jerome and I left the apartment early, him to ski one last time with Cyril who was taking him to the top of the mountain to a red-run and me to draw.
After our last day skiing all together, we all agreed we wanted to ski again, Max said “I’ve learnt a new skill and that’s the best Christmas present I could have had”
September 8th 2013
The Suffolk coast has always been a favorite hideaway for me and my kids. It began when I inherited my Uncle’s caravan when eldest son (now 19) was a toddler. I found a campsite on the Suffolk coast, allowing us the freedom to spend long summers on the beach and in the countryside. I no longer have the caravan but occasionally still manage to escape the metropolis for a weekend by the sea.
Aldeburgh Beach. 2013. 62cm x 140cm. Acrylic, oil and graphite on Fabriano paper
This painting is exhibited at Made in Greenwich until October 20th 2013.
22nd May 2013
I am at Greenwich Dance (GDA) for a meeting with Charlotte Spencer to discuss a summer children’s project we will doing at GDA 12- 15th August, Summer Shake Up. I draw the workshop one of her colleagues is leading while I wait to chat with her.
Later I join them for a fascinating Walking Story in Greenwich Park.
This big kiss appeared in the sky as I got off the train in Greenwich on 26th July, it felt like a sweet strong symbol for Team GB and the forthcoming Games I hoped some of the athletes had looked up and seen it, and also a kiss for me for having spent many recent grim worrying hours in hospital with 2 different family members.
I took the picture on my iphone and come across it when I flick through the images, it always gives a little spark of courage.
1st July 2012
When you walk into the grounds of Eltham Palace in South East London it is like entering a secret garden, or walking through the wardrobe and finding yourself in Narnia. This Art Deco hidden gem, built around the remains of the Palace first recorded in Domesday Book of 1086, is the location Greenwich Dance and Greenwich Theatre present the annual Greenwich World Cultural Festival, a celebration of dance, music and theatre from around the world.
As Greenwich Dance’s Resident Artist I arranged a Creative Clay workshop in the Sunken Moat, led by my eldest son Max and his friend Jess, to make clay figures inspired by the dance taking place around them. Constantly busy with all ages creating a figure to take home.
Creative Clay workshop inspired by dance in the festival
Visitors to the festival were given a map of the palace grounds showing a bridge crossing the dry moat at three given times during the afternoon, asked to meet beside the bridge to be led to the area where a dance would be performed by Beyond Front@
Beyond Front@ dancing in the grounds of Eltham Palace
I gave the spectators small pieces of paper and pencils and suggested they try to get some of the movement on to paper, at the end of the dance we hung them on the Thought Tree.
Musicians played in surprise places around the grounds
Protein Dance’s The Picnic commissioned by Greenwich Dance
We’ve just had the wettest April in the UK for 100 years, but today at last a whole day when no rain fell on my studio at Second Floor Studios. The sun although feeble, shone and lifted my spirits which have been struggling to stay buoyant.
Of course it’s not been the rain that’s got me down, there have been far bigger more dramatic happenings to do that, but a day without rain, warm sun and a beautiful sunset has felt like such a treat.
I shot this at 8.30pm this evening as I was leaving the studios. For those of you reading this who are not South Londoners: on the left, behind the mast of the boat, you can see Canary Wharf; next to that is the O2 where the gymnastics will take place during the Olympic Games and crossing the river, the Thames Barrier.
See this view along with some great art at our Open Studios (see below).
Studio 17, Unit 0, Second Floor Studios
Thursday 17 November 5 -9pm
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 November 11am – 6pm
Painting, Drawing, Etching, Sculpture
All work for sale, new commissions taken
No More Yesterdays. Etching. 2011
Over 100 open studios of artists, photographers, craft and design makers
Location: Second Floor Studios, Mellish Industrial Estate, Warspite Road, Woolwich, London SE18 5NR
car: A206 dual carriageway near Woolwich. Access from A2/M2, M20 & M25
train: Charlton and Woolwich Dockyard Stations. DLR Woolwich Arsenal
Bus: 180, 177, 161, and 472
Square Dances: 4 London Squares, over 200 dancers, bells, and a mobile audience.
50 men in tones of blues and browns, slowly walk towards a large chestnut tree. A huge church bell is struck, very slowly the men move, raising their heads and arms like plants searching out the sun, the bell chimes again, and as if the earth is magnetically pulling them they are being drawn down to the ground. The vibrations of the bell hum through the air and ground. There is a reverence, the audience circling the tree are silent and still, we are as if one with the men, all caught between the vibrations of the bell, the silence of the square and the pull of the earth.
The Dance Students in Queen Square
The dancers each carrying a desk bell, stand close to the benches where the audience sit surrounding the small square. Before commencing they quietly ask if there is a person we would like to dedicate the dance to, the name is written on the dancers arm, by the second day their arms are covered in names. They ring the bells and each dances a unique solo moving from ground to air, returning to the ground to ring the bell at the close of the dance. They move towards other benches to dance, again dedicated to another, again making a gift of their dance. The square is full of echoes and memories.
Gordon Square is the biggest square, with the largest group of performers. The women arrive dressed in shades of blue all with hand bells, as they move across the square they stop and listen, their heads on one side or their faces turned to sky. Stamping feet in an unsettled animal way, raising arms, turning, as if movement made by one group is felt through the earth by others across the square, stimulating movement.
The Children in Woburn Square
This was the last dance I watched, the children held small hand bells, which they rung as they scampered, they moved faster than the grown ups, it was great to end with such liveliness. As they left the square we could hear them ringing the bells and laughing as went down the street. As I looked around the audience, some having watched all 4 performances some having just chanced across this one, everyone was smiling.
Eighteen years ago my sister took a holiday in Cyprus, on her return to London she told me she was sick of her long commute to work, the unpredictable weather, had been enchanted by this beautiful island and wanted to leave UK. Within days she had secured a job and accomodation and relocated to Cyprus. Eight years on she married a Greek Cypriot with 2 (adult) children who also live in Cyprus and so – our wonderful Cypriot family who we recently spent our holiday with.
The first night we stayed at their home in Nicosia. As well as cats and dogs they own a bad tempered parrot called Parrot who squawks grumpily at everyone but if you sing to Parrot she is happy, she dances by ferociously nodding her head and swaying.
We left Nicosia to stay at the coast and the relief of a slight breeze. Days spent snorkeling, diving off rocks, reading, drawing. Evenings, barbecues of fresh fish, sheftalia and souvlaki, followed by midnight swims with an underwater torch.