I really don’t like making excuses and one is not required for not blogging for such a long time. I am a spontaneous blogger and when the moment catches me there is an outpouring of words. Often when the dynamics of your life situation changes so do a lot of things you did as a matter of course.
I am aware this is the first blog I have written this year but so what? Last year I held a joint exhibition with my friend and colleague Larry Otoo which was reasonably successful mostly in the way we managed to raise the funds we needed but then there was the saga with CityLink when two of my paintings went AWOL en route to their new home. It was a heartbreaking six weeks before my paintings and I were reunited.
In October last year I found a job; a month after I lost my home. It seemed pretty ironic at the time that I should have been in the final year of my 15 year mortgage but l life took a bit of a twist and there we were. With no other source of income I was forced to go to the job center to ‘sign on’ only this was not as straight forward as it would have appeared. If you are self-employed and you do not pay enough national insurance contributions you simply do not get benefits… it is as simple as that! No amount of paying tax as a high income tax payer for a zillion years makes a blind bit of difference. So there I was out on my ear and living off the altruistic good nature of my sister Liz, my brother Charles and my friends Asab and Seiwa as well as my Auntie Stella and good friend Theresa across the wide ocean in America.
I am now gainfully employed as an in-house artist. I was really excited at the prospect of having a day job doing something I love so passionately. Having sent hundreds of applications for Marketing and Product Management jobs, this one came out of the blue and initially involved a five hour round trip to work by bus but my excitement knew no bounds. In the event I have done very little painting at work but lets leave that bit for another blog. All I can say is that I work with some very interesting and colourful (no pun intended) characters.
In March I broke under the pressure of my debts and voluntarily filed for bankruptcy. Without the security of my home I had nothing to secure my debts and felt I had very little option but to go down this route. Life as an undischarged bankrupt is simple and stress free but perhaps the most painful part has been the removal of all of my paintings at the behest of the Official Receiver to be auctioned off and the proceeds paid towards my debts. My landlady I think was rather unimpressed I imagine because shortly after extending our lease, she gave us notice and so once again we are home hunting. C’est la vie!
I am reminded of the fable of the powerful king who was humbled by the simple words ‘This too shall pass’ after he was presented with a ring with the inscription that has the ability to make a sad man happy and and happy man sad; indicating that all material conditions good or bad are temporary. No situation is ever permanent.
These days my life is uncomplicated. Ironically with my insolvency I find I am without debt and technically more solvent than many of my colleagues. I am painting again and whenever I have the urge I make a trip to one of my favourite spots in the UK; the breathtakingly scenic Lake District for a spot of inspirational sketching en plein air.
As I write, we have found a new home that’s bigger and brighter than the pokey one in which we currently reside . We will be living near the town center and so the bus journey will be shorter and less convoluted. The journey gives me a lot of time to reflect and think through my next painting. The greatest benefit has been the most spectacular and inspirational sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen. A couple of weeks ago, I was both humbled and honoured to received the Winsor & Newton Choice Award for Fine Art by the Society of Women Artists.
When I finally grow up I would like to be a really good professional artist. I think I am getting there. Our life experiences are all part of the growing up process aren’t they?
Te Deum Laudamus.