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.

Every time you draw you go on a mini adventure.

Drawing is as much about the journey as the final destination.
To draw is to accept the challenge, take a risk, to potentially look a fool, with no guaranteed outcome. The unknown outcome is part of the joy and frustration we face every time we pick up our pencil or piece of charcoal.

When we don’t reach the desired standard we’d hoped for, we try to remind ourselves the process is as valuable as the outcome. We learn from our efforts and move on to the next mini adventure.

“Creativity takes courage” Henri Matisse.                                                                               but then “Life takes courage”!

Janet Lifedrawing

Doubling The Drawing Challenge

We doubled last night’s life-drawing challenge by having two models instead of one. Jane and Ann stuck a series of short poses with the common theme of emotions. We then tackled two longer poses with varying results within the room.

The challenge of drawing two models who are connected in pose is the need to work fast to capture as much as you can and make sense of what you’re seeing.

We always talk about the drawing process being as important as the end result – well that’s good, as my results were poor this week. My proportions were out and my quality of line, and tonal work were off form tonight. I’m hoping it’s a blip and a reflection of the double drawing challenge rather than a reflection of my potentially my meds becoming less effective.

45 minute sketch – Jane sitting, Ann lying.
30 minute sketch. Jane standing, Ann sitting.