Welcome to my blog recording my ninth trip away as part of my one-year project of twelve art road trips.
This month has been one of acceptance and ambition.
The week before this trip I took the plunge and decided to upgrade my van. I’m now the proud owner of a bigger motorhome that has a fixed bed and bathroom. It also has more room to paint. The van is called Ethel:
I picked her up from the dealer, swapped all my bags over (and the dogs), said goodbye to my old van Foxy and set off on the 2-hour journey to Hope, near Castleton in Derbyshire.
The journey was okay, and I soon got used to the extra length and weight of vehicle. I just need to be more careful to not get lost and take routes with too small roads.
It was a great relief to arrive and set up, I unpacked and did a quick self-portrait to get me in the mood for the next few days. It was a quick effort using charcoal and pastels.
Pedro and Rosie settled down for the evening and we had an early night. Pedro’s fifteen plus years are taking their toll – he looks very tired and confused and struggles to walk very far.
The next morning, we woke and sat outside the van for most of the morning in the Autumn sunshine. I spent a relaxing day painted my view of the hills surrounding me.
The next morning started with Rosie waking me at 3am, but later I enjoyed the beautiful sunrise.
I started on another painting of the river that ran not far from where I was camping.
I painted for hours whilst listening to Test Match Special and enjoying hearing England beat India to reach to T20 finals.
On Friday Caroline and her dog Murphy joined me for a couple of days of catching up and painting.
We had a lovely first evening chatting and playing board games.
The next day we spent creating paintings inspired by one of the many beautiful sunrise and sunset photos Caroline has taken.
In the evening we walked to the pub for some food – we sat outside with Pedro, Rosie and Murphy, and our drinks while our table was being prepared.
Caroline noticed Pedro had a bit of paper hanging from his tooth. I laughed and said it looked like he had a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
On closer inspection I found it was a little tag from my art shop back home. Bizarrely it was off one of the only paintings of Pedro in my gallery, saying “Pedro” not for sale.
The tag had somehow made its way with me on the trip and must have fallen out of my pocket, and Pedro had picked it up. Bless him – Pedro is not for sale!
I’d been asked to create an illustration to go with a poem donated to Parkinson’s UK. The poem and painting will be sent to those that have been involved in fundraising for the charity over the last year.
I was happy to help and used some time on this road trip to create an illustration – the result is below.
I’ve really enjoyed this leg of the road trip.
The campsite is good for camping alone and Ethel brings a much-needed new level of luxury and space to project.
Even though I’m recovering from a nasty chest infection, my mental and physical health is probably better than it’s been for a while.
I’ve had to take a break from the exercise I was doing, I’ve altered my meds after a good 6-month review meeting with the consultant, and I’ve taken a step back from the busy schedule and socialising that I’d become used to. I am also reaching the end of the divorce process, and my dad has been stable living at home for the last few weeks (with the help of carers and my sister).
I feel like I’ve weathered the recent storm and I’m much more content with my situation. I think this may be reflected in my art.
Looking forward to my next trip to Wales.