Chickenpox, pneumonia – not recommended

June 20, 2009 at 11:30 am | Posted in artists, Limited edition prints, Mum, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For the last 3 weeks I have been very poorly!

It started with a few spots and a visit to the doc’s, who informed me I had chickenpox, to stay away from people until they had scabbed over and rest. That was Wed 27th May.
By Saturday of that week I was in bed unable to get up, so tired and feeling very unwell indeed – poor me! I asked my partner to call the emergency doctor – it felt like I was unable to feel recovery, just weekness – it didn’t feel right at all.

These days you don’t get emergency doctors to your house easily, you get put through to NHS direct and just when you feel like giving up and falling into a long restless sleep, they ask you questions, not the odd question but streams of them. I could hardly talk, found it difficult to get my breath and just wanted to stop it all! But they persisted and in the end my partner had to take over. It was decided that I had to go in to the NHS centre – oh my god – did that mean I had to get out of bed when I couldn’t get enough energy together, I had to get dressed when every part of my body ached to the point of numbness and I had to walk and go outside and get in a car and be driven somewhere – when all I wanted to do was sleep and sleep – yes that’s exactly what it meant!

I have no idea how I did it, how long it took or what I must have looked like. It’s all a bit of a blur now but we got there and I had to get out of the car (an achievement in itself), walk to the door and try not to look at the people staring at me. When I had glanced in a mirror that morning, it wasn’t me I saw but some sort of transformed alien, red, puffy skin covered (every centimetre) with blobs, I could hardly open my eyes, I could hardy breath, let alone walk! Who was this person????

A nice doctor, as I remember, told us we had to get to hospital, get me checked out – I was expecting “she’s fine, just get her back to bed” but apparently I wasn’t fine and the only bed I was going to see was at emergency admmissions City Hospital, where we waited and waited. I suppose we got there around 7.30pm and eventually found out that I would be seen by a doctor in order of arrival, there had obviously been a lot of arrivals because I wasn’t seen until 1.30am – my poor partner had to sit there all that time, couldn’t even go out for a fag! I felt so bad.

I do remember a nurse coming in and putting a needle in the top of my hand and it hurting like hell! I could see from her expression that she wasn’t happy doing it and got all flustered – I also didn’t like her doing it and thought “should it hurt this much?”

They looked, proded, waited for the consultant and eventually I was sent up to the infectious deseases ward – in a wheelchair – never before have a been in a wheelchair and never before had I needed one soooo badly! Finally I could get in to bed and rest.

Is there a good side to having chickenpox? Well yes actually, when admitted to hospital you get a room of your own – which is nice. I remembered my only other stay in hospital for a tooth extraction (it was close to a nerve that could have caused loss of speech so they had to be careful) and on that occasion I was in a ward with some very strange beasts indeed, a mixed ward of wailing women and men how stared, so a room of my own was a pleasant surprise.

For 4-5 days it all becomes a bit of a blur but I will attempt to put it in the right order.
First there was the wait for the next consultant (something to do with skin deseases – they couldn’t decide whether it was chickenpox for a while) that took ages – and I kept thinking “When do I start to feel better”
It seemed an age – probably a day, before they decided on the treatment and put me on drips and stuck things in me and fed me medicine through my veins with a catheter – not nice. Anti virals, antibiotics hundreds of mls pumping into me. Whilst all this was going on the catheter the emergency nurse had put in (badly) suddenly came out and that’s when we all realised she had not be successful in getting it in properly – it still hurts now, some 22 days later!

Aparently I’m one of the less fortunate adults who catch chickenpox because I got complications – pneumonia. Which, they tell me, is quite bad – What do I know, I just wanted to feel better.
The nurse from intensive care came to see me, apparently I needed oxygen – blimey! it turned out I was very clsoe to having to move to intesive care – by this point I didn’t care so long as I got some care! We started with the little nostril things and whilst it did have some effect I still had trouble talking, so after some time (don’t ask how long I have no idea!) she changed it to a full on mask with oxygen and water – who know what that was about, all I know is that the damed thing wouldn’t stay on and it was a mare when I tried to sleep!

The nurses kept taking my temperature and pulse and oxygen levels. The one night I remember failry clearly was when they had to do it all every hour, waking me up each time, I couldn’t sleep and was exhausted – turns out that was a very dodgy night – they were afraid I wouldn’t make it through. (No exclamation point this time, that situation has fianally sunk in – I was in deep doo doo, but they got me through – bless em all)

The worst day was when a lovely gentle angel of a nurse told me quietly and with ample concern, that I would need a colostomy bag – I was devastated – those things were for old folk, people who couldn’t do things for themselves – it couldn’t be for me, I was not in need, I was too proud to accept this awful, humiliating invasion of my body and pride. She understood completely, the look of empathy and pity said it all. Apparently they needed to see I could take on liquids and get them through my system – surely there was a better way – nop – I was cornered – it was done – not painful just embarassing (apparently women who have given birth don’t give two hoots – I haven’t and I did give two, three and four hoots). It followed me everywhere, like a dead limb and was finally removed (even less painful) during the night of whatever day it was thanks to a kind doctor who checked me out and said I really didn’t need it – thanks you – forever, whoever you are.

A word on my nurses – the Green Team of Nightingale II at City Hospital Nottingham. What a wonderful, eccentric, caring, insane, group of angels. Tall, short, old, young, mad, bubbly, quiet, chatty, cheerful, serious, male and female, trendy, overworked, and all taking care of me – it all seemed a bit much but it was all necessary I understand

That separate room was bliss, it didn’t matter what I did, I was on my own and had my own bathroom, so isolation can be bliss, it wasn’t until the 7th day that it turned into a cell, four walls, a window I couldn’t open (air con) and no-one to talk to from when I got up (6.00am’ish) until visiting time at 2.30pm. I was told to walk around get my lungs moving – I must have looked deranged, wandering up and down the 10 foot square room, trailing my drips with me. Nurses came and went, my room was cleaned by some nice chatty ladies but nothing ate into those hours, they just hung in the air, not moving, not ticking away, even when I managed to put on daytime TV – what an awful bunch of nothing that it – I think it actually put back my recovery!
2.30pm VISITING TIME thankyou!

The highlight of every single day, without exception, was seeing my partners face look through the window in my room and smile – what a smile – Mona Lisa move over, this was the most beautiful smile of a the most beautiful man in the universe and he was coming to spend some time with me – oh how much thanks can I express in this blog – no where near enough – deep deep love and affection to you, always and forever. xxx

My wonderful, caring and frightened Mum came too, every day, always with something, a little gift, chocolate (which I couldn’t eat – forgot to say the chickenpox had got in my mouth, on my gums and down my throat – much pain, very little food I could eat and to top that I also had a yeast infection coating my tongue, gums, teeth – blimey – I must have done something really bad in a previous life) anyway – this all meant I couldn’t taste anything other than a feeling that someone had put a large quantity of roughly ground very strong pepper down my throat and I couldn’t chew anything either, so not even chocolate was going to make me feel better.

Soup, and soft bread was all I could manage (I also had a lump in my throat that made it painful to swollow) but I’m afraid the food at the hospital was not good, I once decided on the mushroom soup and a slice of bread – yummy you may say! but I can’t remember ever seeing a mushroom soup look like this one – the colour was right but the additional floating scum didn’t, for some reason, appeal, so in the end my lovely fella brought me soup everyday and I just had “two slices of plain bread please” from the dinner lady when she came – she must have thought I was on a bread a water diet – she probably didn’t care!

I need to continue this but I had no idea how much I had to say, I shall add more later, for now I need a rest – pneumonia certainly takes it’s toll on energy levels, and I have to have a cup of tea – I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally be able to drink a cup of tea and taste it

To be contuinued……………….


Watching paint dry

May 22, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Posted in artists, Commissions, Limited edition prints, painter, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Had a bad week……………………
Mainly down to teeth! On a visit to the dentist I had one tooth out – which came out in pieces! and one abscess popped by the dentist – not recommended for anyone – I asked whether they had any patients in the waiting room cos If I were out there I’d have hot fotted it away as fast as I could – listening to my ohhhs ouches and the like!
Can’t eat, too painful and awkward, as we speak I am straining pea and ham soup to get the bits out so I can suck the juice – loverly (maybe a little glimps into what it’s going to be like when I realy am old)

Anyway, because of all this I have not felt like picking a paint brush up once this week – it’s a good job I’ve finished my commission! But today I’m starting to feel a little better and so, I’ve set up my easil, table and paints and I’m having a go at a night skyline.

I’ve had this in mind for some time and already decided that I would use masking tape to get a clear outline of the buildings against the dark sky and then somehow use masking tape again to highlight one or two windows – not sure how that’s going to go yet – will keep you posted.

My problem is, I’m slapping the paint on (sky and water) over the masking tape (doesn’t matter, it’s coming off and will just help get some clean lines) and I’m having to wait for it to dry – taking masking tape off before it’s dry could well damage the very effect I put it on for – so I’m “waiting for paint to dry” it’s just the same as waiting for a kettle to boil!

The whole idea was that I felt good enough to paint and now I can’t – not until it’s dry anyway!
Pooh pants
P.S. That’s why I’m writing my blog – waste some time
24 x 18 inch on canvas – looks pants at the moment but just maybe ——- it will turn out ok

No commission today

May 12, 2009 at 9:04 am | Posted in artists, Capri, Commissions, Limited edition prints, painter, Portraits, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Feels funny, no commission to paint, handed over my latest (to a very pleased client – which is nice) yesterday and now ……………………nothing!

I have no inspiration, no “need” to paint and it is a weird feeling. On days like this, when I have the time to paint but nothing to paint I usually end up wasting paint and paper, looking for something within.

So the question is – do I set up to paint and see what happens or do I do something else with may day?

I hate days like this – I hate to waste perfectly good painting days, silly really I have loads of days left in my life but something inside says I must paint whenever I can.

What I need to do is listen to my nostrils – apparently and if my creative brain isn’t at home I can bring it to the for.

I shall go for a long walk, partake of my usual pilates session and then see what my nostrils tell me……………worth a shot.

P.S. Started my B1 and garlic tablets today (to help with mozzie bite in July when we go back to Capri). The garlic tablets are supposed to be odourless, but I can taste them – doesn’t seem right to me! So if I talk to you today, please forgive me if you get a whiff of something not quite righteous!!!!!!

Second commissioned painting a success/SAA finalist

May 8, 2009 at 10:02 am | Posted in artists, Capri, Commissions, competitions, Limited edition prints, painter, Portraits, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I invited my latest client to view her finished commission of a personal view of the Taj Mahal, something I have been working on since our first contact via my website contact form on 30th March 2009.

I was supplied with various photographs – via e-mail, and sketched out several options in pen and watercolour, which is easier and quicker than acrylics for a sketch. We discussed (via e-mail and text) exactly what my client was looking for and it turned out she wanted a personal view of the temple rather than a typical view, so we opted for a photo taken through an archway. This appealed to both of us for several reasons:
1. Not some typical postcard view
2. Very personal as it was taken by them once they found the ideal spot
3. It makes the painting less symmetrical
4. It allowed for texture, architecture, colour variation and depth

When my client arrived I asked her to sit at our dining table and view the painting. Not just look at it but sit a while, quietly just looking. At first glance anything can look ok, but quiet time allows for any mistakes or areas of concern to surface. She was happy, thought it was lovely, wouldn’t hesitate to use me again – lovely words, well spoken and recieved. We were both happy!

Holding on to it for a couple of day, as I need to take a good shot in my little photo room in the loft, so I can put it on my website for everyone to see (after it has been seen by the true recipient in a couple of months) hopefully I will get a testimonial to print too.

Every year the Society for all Artists (SAA) runs an art competition to find the `Artist of the year` – I decided to join and entered several of my paintings in to the beginners category (I have only been painting for 18 months).

To my delight I have just recieved a letter confirming that my painting entitled Budapest has been selected for final judging – if successful it will be displayed at an exhibition in Islington in July! I have to admit it’s not one of my favourites but hey! I’ll take whatever I can get and it is a thrill to say the least – even if it doesn’t get through

Wish me luck……………

Painting review

May 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Posted in artists, Capri, Commissions, competitions, Limited edition prints, painter, ramblings, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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My commission of the Taj Mahal is nearing it’s conclusion, right out of the blue, and that’s usually how it happens with me – I paint away, trying my best to get all the bits and pieces to work and suddenly I realise there is not much more left to do, this is when I have to stop myself from going over bits that are already ok – and usually ruin them!

Today at 4.50 GMT I stopped, put my paints away (this stops me from making random adjustments that are not always necessary), made myself a cup of tea and sat in front of my painting whilst I drank it.

The only thing I need at this point is a neutral eye and a note pad and pen.

Slowly I check all the areas of my painting – with a reference photo close at hand. I squint, to check for correct shading and shadows, I look at individual areas of detail and also make sure I look at the painting as a whole.

How does it look?
Does everything look right together?
Does the shading tell the viewer what shape everything is?
Do all the colours add up to the right effect?

My list is as follows
1. Adjust the shadow of the secondary dome – it’s not quite the right shape
2. One of the lines on the face of the temple looks out of line with the rest – adjust
3. The shadow cast by the couple I have painted needs to be just a bit darker
4. Increase the depth of colour along the shaded part of the wall

Not too much to do and I have the weekend to look at it at my leisure to make sure there is nothing else – and I can’t alter anything because all my paint and brushes have been put away.

What is my next project going to be……………………….

Highly commended Patchings 2009

April 30, 2009 at 11:31 am | Posted in artists, Commissions, competitions, Limited edition prints, painter, Portraits, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A bit of recognition for my art.

I entered the Patchings Art Competition 2009 (UK) and my painting of Ronaldo was “Highly Commended” which is pretty cool. I only submitted 3 paintings and I probably didn’t submit my best (most of those have been submitted to the SAA art competition, I’m still waiting to see if any are through for final judging – their standards are pretty high though!).

Ronnie will appear on the Patchings website from June and that gives me more exposure – which is nice. I checked out last years winners and “Highly Commended” and I think I’m in good company.

So, only my second competition since taking up painting at the end of 2007 and already a bit of success – I am well chuffed

Commission is a big success

April 26, 2009 at 10:05 am | Posted in artists, Commissions, Limited edition prints, painter, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Fantastic, my commission campervan, was a big success and I got a lovely thank you card from Sheree “”Thank you so much for my painting – I can’t believe how realistic it is – it’s amazing!”

I feel soooo much better now. Even though I was just the service provider (so to speak) I am really chuffed that she loved the painting, really thought she’d want me to shade a bit here or there but no, total approval – is that what I am really seeking, is that why sometime it is painful to paint?

My latest commission has given me more than one headache – worry about whether I am painting what they want to see, and sometimes making mistakes because I am trying too hard!

Another thought occured to me, when am I going to be able to paint my paintings – yes I want the commissions, good money! but I also want my own work painted for people to see, enjoy and even buy!
“Lighten up” I think is the message!

Updates to my website

April 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Posted in artists, Commissions, Limited edition prints, painter, Portraits, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Been on my website; this morning doing some shuffling and deleting. I think it looks cleaner but sometimes the admin side is slow and frustrating, maybe one day I will be able to afford to have someone do it for me, but for now it’s down to me – and I `aint that good!

If anyone drops by I would appreciate your thoughts and recommendations – I think for an artist it is a very dull site – apart from the paintings – hee hee

On the paintings front – I’m waiting to see what the recipient of my campervan painting thinks – I hope they like it – should see it this weekend

Twitter, painting and life

April 17, 2009 at 10:12 am | Posted in artists, Commissions, Limited edition prints, painter, Portraits, ramblings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I joined Twitter to expand the people looking at my website and found that there is so much more to it than that!

Yes, I still want it to do what I originally set it up for but, what it has done is open up new worlds to me. Other people twittering on about their lives is fascinating and addictive! What they had for dinner, who they met for drinks, where the best food is – and it’s all over the world! Sometimes that can be a pain, especially if something looks good!

The down side is that it does get rogue people putting links on to viruses and you have to be careful, but folk give you the heads-up if you look hard enough.

Today I have found an excellent fashion site and a UK based discount fashion site called Koodos , all between having breakfast and exercising. I’m also chatting with a sculpter from America and awaiting shots of his latest work. I also discovered yesterday that Clement Freud passed away – how very sad!

The problem is, I spend more time on there than my own blog (hence today’s update!) and website, but what it is showing me is that simplicity is good and I shall therefore be working on my own site to `k.i.s.s.` it (Keep it simple stupid)

Back to my latest commission now, Can’t post this one just in-case anyone is looking (Which would be nice)

Completed campervan commission

April 8, 2009 at 10:26 am | Posted in artists, Commissions, Limited edition prints, Mum, ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Finished the Campervan/Australian beach commission you can see it here

Client is very pleased – and so am I!

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