Life Drawing Wednesdays – more than just an art class.

Fleur021019Wednesday evenings have gradually become the highlight of the week for me.

At 7pm the regulars arrive for our two hour life drawing session in a reassuringly predictable order. We talk briefly about the week that has passed, glossing over the real sadness and anxieties some of us are dealing with. Instead we muse over where we fancy sitting this week, what approach we might take to our drawing, and what flavour cake we have for the half time break.

Once started we lose all sense of time and what’s going on beyond the walls of our lovely old venue. We’re only interrupted by the occasional sound of geese flying by, and have the constant sound of the water raging over the nearby weir. We lose ourselves in the process of drawing and the challenge of capturing the naked form.

The alarm goes off to mark the end of the session and we supportingly review each others work and reflect of the breadth of styles and talent. The respect and support we have for each other has created something of real value. Established attendees have become good friends, new comers are warmly welcomed.

We leave the building and enter the cold dark air, saying goodbye to our life drawing haven for another week, most of us feeling a great deal better than when we arrived.

The life drawing sessions run every Wednesday, 7,30-9.30pm at the Canal Heritage Centre, Beeston, Nottingham. https://canalsideheritagecentre.org.uk/whats-on/events/09/10/2019/groups/life-drawing-group

Hopes and Fears

So this week there’s some positive news about a possible new treatment for Parkinson’s disease: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49713407. It sounds promising and my immediate reaction was excitement, relief and above all a huge wave of hope. Simon and I talk about how amazing it would be if the drugs worked. We read excitedly about the trials and try to find out when they might be complete and better treatment available.

Then I suddenly feel really bad for having these emotions. I shut down the conversation and get upset – isn’t this just further evidence to suggest I’m in denial about my diagnosis and not coming to terms with living with PD? Isn’t this just me grabbing at false hope and unrealistic dreams?

Confused and emotional I went into the studio and tried to express this situation of being between unrelenting hope, and then the constant fears for the future. Trying to look positively forward, whilst carrying a dark and debilitating weight of worries.

Hopes and fears
“Hopes and Fears” Acrylic on Canvas.

Living With Mr P: Our First Anniversary

Jane head 040919

I’m still me! A simple statement. One I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to say on 6th September 2018 when I got the formal diagnosis.
Mr P has brought me new anxiety and physical challenges, but I’m still the me I was before 6th September, same fears, same vanity, same ambition, same desires.

My drawing and painting has changed over the last 12 months. I can’t produce the fine detail of the past, but this has given me a bolder approach to my painting. To compensate for the lack of small detailed hand and wrist movement, I now stand at my easil and paint using the full movement of my body. As a result my artwork is richer in colour and emotion and feels more authentic.
Mr P has made me more creative and daring, and my output positively effects my ability to cope with Mr P.
Art is my therapy!

Mr P has opened me up to new experiences and challenges. In the last 12 months I’ve done:

  • The London 2 Paris bike ride (and the training to do it).
  • Joined a running club.
  • Got involved in Breakdancing and the urban arts scene.
  • Started doing yoga.
  • Had a tattoo!

Thanks to Mr P I have made some amazing new friends. I hope, friends for life.
I now have less time for negative people, and I recognise and love fiercely the positive friends and family I have.
I’ve learnt that the simplest gestures and thoughtful words can sometimes change your world.

Mr P may not define me, but I accept he is now part of who I am.
I am going to make something positive out of this situation. To talk about Parkinson’s and raise awareness of it through positive actions.
I’m determined to try to ensure life doesn’t close in on me, there are too many new experiences, challenges and paintings to be created.

Jane 040909

Awareness and Art……..

Paul 55mins
Paul, 55mins

It was a strange day yesterday: the eve of World Parkinson’s day, and my six month PD review appointment at the wonderful QMC Nottingham. The waiting room provides a harsh reminder of the stages and effects of this condition. If anything makes you aware of the importance of funding more research for new treatments and to find a cure, it’s sitting in this waiting area as a relatively newly diagnosed patient.

My appointment was over an hour late, but who cares? These Parkinson’s professionals are amazing and I can’t thank them enough for dedication, support and efforts to help make the situation as bearable as possible.

As for me, I stay on my 10mg of Ropinirole, keep up the running and cycling and keep my fingers crossed for a longer ‘honeymoon’ period. As part of PD Awareness Week and World PD day, I decided to ‘come-out’ at my regular Wednesday evening life-drawing group, and it felt good!  For me a problem shared is a problem halved, and by speaking about my own condition it feels like I’m doing my own little bit for PD awareness. As for my art, I thoroughly enjoyed creating bold, bright, positive drawings last night, which I’m sure reflected my mood after sharing my diagnosis with creative and supportive friends.

Weekend Creative Wanderings.

This weekend was a wonderful example of how throwing yourself into challenging creative projects can be the best therapy for mind and body.

On Saturday I went to Lincoln for a day of contemporary life sculpture with The New Drawing Group. The Drill Hall venue was great, and the tuition was just right, providing direction, but allowing personal exploration. I loved the outcomes of the process more than the final clay sculpture, but I’m content with that and had an excellent challenging day.

Sunday was our extended 4 hour life drawing session at the Canalside Heritage Centre in Beeston. I though caution to the wind and got the acrylic paints out. I captured Julie’s form early on, but started to lose my way with the painting. Thankfully fellow life drawers  Liam and Jacqui suggested going bold with a yellow/ green background. It worked, if only to get my enthusiasm back with the painting. The outcome was bold and daring for a usually conservative me.

The weekend has helped me to be a bit more carefree and experimental with my work. I’m happy with that!

 

Julie PaintingJulie shadedwire 2d framemetal frame