Not every piece has a name during the creation stage. Very often the name emerges days after, when the painting is resting and letting me know if any more little bits need to be added. This one, Annies Song, was there, right from the start.
She was originally one of two that I created late last year. They were very spikey. Quite funky when I created them, but they didn't work with the most recent Emerging Collection, so I didn't launch them on the website. They just sat in the corner of the studio.....waiting. They were never given names, and they are an unusual canvas size for me. In fact they are a different brand of canvas, due to shortages when we knew yet another Lockdown was coming.
So that's the background. I had a base, and somehow I knew it was important to keep the vibrant pink, rather than just paint over the whole thing. Timing is everything, and although this isn't quite the right time to put her up for sale, I think it's right to talk about her. Let's talk about Annie.
Reasons, Seasons and Lifetimes.
Annie is an old friend who I met when I moved in with MrH in 1997. She and her husband lived next door to us when we had a little cottage in Barrington. They we the best neighbours you could ever wish for and we became very good friends.
When you develop a friendship, it could be for a Reason, and Season or a LIFETIME, but at the conception of any relationship, you have no idea how long it will last.
The best neighbours you could wish for.
Annie would happily let our old dog out for us if we were away for the day. She was a huge animal lover. I remember going over for dinner and the cat brought in a mouse that ran along the carpet, literally over their Golden Retriever, over my foot and into the kitchen. Annie and I spent 10 minutes trying to catch it, ending up setting a humane trap by the fridge. By the end of the evening, we had the mouse alive, and returned to the field behind the house!
She was an amazing gardener - Sarah Raven's pots weren't a patch on Annies creations! She was a pianist and when she had breast cancer back in 2000, I would hear here playing the piano in the evenings when I let our dog out for his night time pee. She couldn't sleep and playing helped relax her. It certainly was a beautiful sound coming from their house, that we could all enjoy, even though she was having a really tough time.
They have both given me a great deal of business advice over the years, and we've had many lovely evenings with them. In fact, it was after a very drunken dinner party at theirs, that MrH proposed to me!
They were so generous too. They sold us two of their cars, and they gave us the use of their flat in London for a couple of nights as honeymoon destination. (We only had a few days together - MrH couldn't get the time off work for a trip abroad). We could lay in bed and literally look through the London Eye, and I always remember they left Bollinger in the fridge for us when we arrived.
They bought our cottage!
After the wedding, we had to move to set up a business in Taunton. Our wonderful neighbours bought our little cottage, so they could be in control of who ultimately bought it. They allowed us to continuing living there, rent free for three months after completion, while we gutted and built our salon - Genesis Day Spa. When we were due to move out, they realised that our flat above the spa was still a mere shell with no bathroom, and allowed us more time to get things sorted. Because they were our friends.
We try to meet up a few times a year, but with the 2020 saga of restrictions and personal issues, we didn't see them at all last year, and although there was a small window of opportunity with my Pause Exhibition in the summer, they chose to stay away. We'd keep in touch with occasional emails, but haven't spoken to them for months.
I expect you can feel what's coming?
Out of the blue, we had a call a few weeks ago to say that Annies cancer had returned earlier in the year. It was in a kidney and she was in hospital having immunotherapy, with a view to reduce the tumour and then remove the kidney. They would keep us informed, hoping that she would be able to go home to recover between treatments.
We realised how difficult it must have been to call friends and tell them the news, and we hoped for the best outcome.
As I write this, she is in the Exeter Hospice, receiving the best care as her body fails, and her spirit waits to emerge.
Don't take things personally
It's hard sometimes not to be upset through someone else's actions or decisions. I'm an energy worker, but I'm also human, and the fact we hadn't been told, did upset me. It upset me so much that while I was building up new layers on this new piece, I became overcome with grief and anger. The layers I'd built up outside in the sunshine, ended up having the full hosepipe treatment! (If you're an artist, you know!) - and the hours of worked layers just washed away.
F**King Covid! I was so angry that we hadn't seen them all last year, because of all the shite going on.
I was upset that we didn't know what was going on, but in a few moments that all disappeared down the drain. Literally. A real cleanse. A letting go. How I was reacting to the 'not knowing', was insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I needed to let that go, and place my attention mindfully on the newly cleansed canvas.
The pink hung on! It wasn't a completely scratched clean canvas - that's near impossible to achieve. Annie always wore beautiful scarves with cerise flashes, and had the most stunning winter coat in bright cerise and gold.
The next layers emerged really quickly. Sometimes pieces can take months to complete, and I guess as the energetic foundations were already there, it was much easier to just go with it. The pink of Annies scarf and coat, white for purity, and gold leaf for the alchemy and transition.
Annies Song will be available soon. If you are interested, register your interest now. She's a beautiful, quiet piece, with gold leaf and the most vibrant hidden pink.
Thank you for reading this far......
Time for reflection, and recognition of the things that matter.