We’ve been relaxing in a remote cottage in rural Norfolk since Wednesday. I’ve taken advantage of the beautiful location and break from the usual routine to spend some time drawing and painting.
Simon was persuaded on three occasions to model for me, two of the poses incorporated him reading – he was deep into a good book so it seemed only fair. The first portrait has a likeness and warmth that I’m pleased with. The two sketches of him reading (and the fire place sketch) whilst a bit loose and ragged were fun to do, and gave me some much needed sketching practice. I was pleased that for the first time in nearly two years I was managing to shade and cross-hatch, something I thought I’d lost for good since developing Parkinson’s symptoms.
I’ve sketched and painted five pictures in five days, as well as learning how to knit. I’ve managed to follow my first knitting pattern and create two woolly hats. Here’s me walking Pedro and looking quite happy wearing my first attempt:
As well as the creative activity, we’ve been doing our usual running. We ran the Sheringham Parkrun on Saturday morning and have been running round the narrow lanes around Wickmere, avoiding the large puddles and the occasional car.
Norfolk has had a positive effect on me. Giving me the time and space to exercise my brain through learning how to knit and doing a lot of sketching and drawing. We’ve also been eating well, and managing to get some decent running in to release those absolutely vital endorphins. It’s the perfect combination for me to manage my physical and mental health. I’m sure I’ll miss Simon’s company when I do my next challenge “20 Days in 2020”, but Norfolk has helped prove to me what an opportunity it will be to be able to paint and sketch for twenty consecutive days without disturbance. I can’t wait! xx
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.
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!
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”!