Moving on from my ‘Open Studio’ event

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Some of my work spanning at least 15 years

You don’t expect to re-invent your life – and your working future – approaching your 79th year. Your body, and even memory, are not what they were. Though I am still the same ‘me’ that I have always been. There are flashes of exhilarating energy … of a life well-lived in a 56-year working partnership with the person I loved and married. The past occasionally illuminates itself … but the future – breaking through the carapace of what is no longer there – is unknown.

There have been six re-incarnations:

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With my grandfather in the early 1940s, during World War Two

1. Childhood and College (that magical time of young brain, and an introduction to history, the natural world, literature, music and theatre).

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Just married: February 8th, 1958 at St.John’s Wood Church, London

2. Teaching … marriage … our own educational publishing company … work-work-work.

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A very poor shot, showing our two young boys working on the roof of our Cotswold home, early 1970s. Our little daughter is not in this picture, though she did climb ladders to be with them but was apt to let go!

3. Three beloved children (who all at one time worked in our publishing business), and more than that helped to rebuild our late-16th century home whilst converting an acre of wild ground. A true family partnership, which still exists today.

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This says it all ….

4. All changed in 2014: cancer (for me) and simultaneously the death of my quiet, gentle, brilliant and long-suffering RQB.

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RQB’s former immaculate veg-plot takes on a new life – I have incorporated a flower-cutting patch as well as small metre square spaces edged with old brick for vegetables.

5. Quiescence: an 18-month existence when my brain and body felt as if they were calcifying, and I was becoming wrapped in a thin skin of cold forgetfulness. So frightening.

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Experimenting with new techniques, or revisiting projects that have sat around waiting to be finished. This one is laid out, word-whispers written. Just need to pull it all together now.

6. A change in medication and I begin to pull myself together; to slough the skin and reinvent myself. Creativity, writing, photography and my garden have always been the backbone of my existence – the idea of “Ann’s Art Retreats” and one-to-one tutorials begin to percolate through. I planned that the Open Studio event would be the catalyst.  It has indeed and in quiet moments a portfolio of suggested tutorials has emerged.