This year has floored me, and thankfully after months of persistence and perseverance things are starting to happen now on the medical front, although, they are far from resolved. Tomorrow a knee operation will start things off and then hopefully the long-awaited tests and mri’s we are waiting for will get organised. It has been much harder being on crutches when another area of disease attacking the upper body has spread.
However, dwelling on the pain and things we can’t do isn’t what we are about around here, and helping each other out; making activities possible is not only what we do, but what we want to continue to build for lots of other people. Right now my gratitude overfloweth..
We have some amazing people in our lives, some who we see once a year, appearing with beach hut goodies to build our vision, others who donate lovely art materials for classes to use, others who collect stuff to draw, or help set up tables and carry bags and others who just are kinder than kind with their offers to be available to help.
Post op, we are pulling together our plans under a second blog- a seaside vintage community arts page which will celebrate your achievements, show our progress and tell people our ideas.
We would really love your help. If you would like to be a trustee right at the start of this exciting project, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. We need people who have experience in funding applications!! And generally nice folk who want to help people less able to be creative at the coast.
The project is called Sea Sparkle and if you click on the link you’ll see why. Hope you like it. x https://seasparkle.org/2017/09/25/what-is-the-beach-hut/
We are on facebook-
*Liz at the beach hut
*Liz Walker (request) picture of me and Leah
Your donations, your beach hut additions, your offers of lifts and volunteering, make activities possible. You rock xxx
But first.. Off to get a bit better…
Better pack a bag and dream up new plans. More bits to follow, but for now, sending you all Much love,
Liz and the gang at the Beach Hut
Who lives in a house like this?
No matter what your background, culture or situation, you might respond with an impact filled emotion to these amazing buildings, which could go one of two ways! Certainly, you would imagine that anyone creative enough to build their life outside of the flatpack universe, must have a certain amount of strength, energy and help to achieve such a lot of work.
If you wear bright colours, you paint your face, your sticks, your house, ..or around here …your path; you may find that you are seen as not really being that unwell . Can you hear your own doubting public !! ? You hear many things when you don’t always look unwell. That’s ok.. It is a choice to make. to not look ill. When a condition begins to darken the edges of your ability to manage normally, you either give in, or you let yourself be the real you. Trying to repeatedly prove to anyone you are actually unwell, is another level of frustration you don’t need. Wear a badge, hold up a placard but find the bit inside that still exists as the rainbow you.
Some people choose to wear their faces like this… let them…
Even medical professionals struggle to understand how someone can really be in pain, but still move enough to do positive things for themselves, and especially continue to do things for other people. In fact, often serious conditions are masked and overlooked when you have another chronic one that you are coping with over a long period of time. It used to make me sad, or angry or frustrated. Now I realise, that they are all part of a big wheel of never ending paperwork, and you aren’t that important, unless you make it your business to be. Quietly, calmly and consistently. And continuing to feel valued and worthwhile helps stop you sinking into that feeling of non existence !!
The reality is, you can get more done when you ARE feeling worse sometimes; especially if you know you won’t always be able to . You get things done despite your pain, not because you don’t actually have pain. You have no choice. For short bursts you can achieve amazing things.
- A knowledge of your limitations creates a determination to push them further. Eek out a tiny bit more energy and drive until the job is done, even if it takes all night, or ten minutes every day. You tell yourself you can do it.
- You stop thinking one negative opinion matters, you remember all the people cheering you on and offering their stories and admiration in return, or telling you how you inspired them to do similar.
- You figure out and stick to the things you need to make life work- warmth, adapting your environment, lots of light, human touch, avoiding toxic people and food and spending time with delicious versions of both.
- You keep your vision clear in your mind and don’t waver.
- You stop telling yourself you are a fraud for being wonderful with a disability, a mental health issue, being in a wheelchair blah blah. And worrying that someone will catch you enjoying yourself and tip you out into the gutter.
- You take up the offers of help you felt too proud to take up, and realise you would do the same for your friends in a heartbeat. And definitely will again one day.
- You look around and ask yourself whether you are 100 % in this version of you, even if it isn’t gong to be permanent. Which means having only the clothes and things around you that you can wear, bear, or that make you feel like you aren’t waiting for another life to begin. Who knows what shape you might be in future? Who knows what you’ll be in to? But if things make you sad, or make you perpetually feel like you’re waiting for a train to come for a station to the future. Tumbleweeds will knock you off your bench. And you might miss the great town you’re already in.
I say this as someone who, currently can’t bend one arm, walk or wear my vintage dresses because they get tangled in my crutches. But. I am still me. I’m not chucking them out. (sorry!) They are mostly stored on a rail in the attic where if medical science catches up with my head and super vet takes on humans, I will shimmy down my ladder in my retro polka dots one day. or… my daughter may wear them to the prom. Either way. It’s ok. They aren’t taunting me when I open my wardrobe (s) ! I like my linen floaty stuff just as much.
Resting up in hospital gave me time to get creative. I recycled all the medicine tubs on the ward to paint watercolours in, and spent a lovely time chatting to a wonderful lady next to me whilst tinkering away at these posters.
These few months have been many things. I thought they were simply slow and painful at times, too cold to be in my beloved garden and to feel sun on my bones instead of these sticky pain patches! But on reflection each step has been plentiful, gathering momentum towards projects all over the place.
Research for The Eyemouth Art Trail has created new friendships, unearthed a host of local information of local artists in the area, which I will chat to you about another time, and Artwork made which will be used for various things related to the campaign.
My community Art group have worked away at various projects over the winter, despite their own challenges, and we are developing a new relationship with a partner community group, who are lovely; and understand our needs as an entity! This is so exciting. People who can adapt when the teacher for the first children’s class ends up in hospital instead….. well they are more than ok in my book.
Winter has been drawn on and written on, when the joints have allowed, before spring comes and more time can be spent outside. Almost every weekend plan that was made was changed by various friends, they themselves having different complications, and that was ok too. So, this inside- the- house bit of time for us was two months of preparation and of making new connections, facing the realities of what this new set of adaptions all means. But also enjoying the freedom of not caring what the imaginary little judge on my shoulder thinks.
Kicked that little monster to touch.
We gather habits, patterns of behaviour like we gather clothes and books. Thinking we will get the same from them as we always did. And they sit there in our lives staring at us, taunting us with their lack of commitment to the actual person we need too be now.
Perhaps, without actually getting rid of anybody, it is time to ask who, in your current version of your self is bringing you a squeaky tea trolley of tea and biscuits? Or wine? Or who you feel like sharing your leftover Christmas stash with! x What things do you do that make you happy? If you are unwell now or if you were to be in the future, what would give you most pleasure to have around you?
Keep what and who you love close by and be grateful for what you can do, what you can achieve in a day and what your influence does still bring. Shove everything else in the attic. Keep smiling. Spring is coming xx
Or you’ll have hermione to deal with… xxx
Your Rainbow friends,
L and Lxxx
On Boxing day, this was the outfit of choice.. and, if we were all really honest with ourselves we probably all wish we could wear every Christmas presents…. at once….
Abundance. The realm of the child, the lucky, or the wise….?
For a fraction of a second my daughter questioned the potential reaction of others, in the small village where we live. But this was swiftly replaced with a glorious freedom of spirit and self judgement. The vivid flourish of feathers, stripy wellies and clashing colours drew many compliments, smiles and probable envy, of being ten-ness from every grown-up on her travels during the doggie walk that afternoon…
I felt incredibly proud of her joie-de-vivre, and of how far our journey has taken us both; away from so many constrictions, and which, if you might have followed our story from the start, you’ll know , has been hard won …… Good for her.. but can it be good for all of us, to be a little more tutu?
It seems we operate as humans in most things we do, from either love or fear. At the extreme contours of our comfort zones
We don’t have a responsibility to carry the fears of anyone else. But we can encourage those around us to find a way to stick their fingers up at some of their conditioned responses to the rules. As long as we are kind, we can be colourful.
How often do we slightly recoil at generosity of spirit in some way? Perhaps you have been fortunate to have been shrouded in compliments but have told yourself they are ill deserved, gifts you feel are only given in anticipation of another in return. ? Of course, nobody can be that kind and want nothing back? Nobody can be that friendly and be trustworthy.. We are taught to be wary of change, differences and wonkiness of thought.
If you look for reasons to criticise… up they pop like weeds. But, if we look at say, a gossip mag, full of critiques, comments, comparisons and criticisms… we could be forgiven for believing we read the same one a year ago. It is all the same.. ‘This person doesn’t fit the mould, that person doesn’t meet our popular mass expectation, since they became; (pick one)- divorced/fat/poor/lonely/ill/uncool/no-as-on-trend..Very rarely do these publications value the integrity of the person or their actual reality.
And under all the stuff, all the things we move about every year, all the new things grabbed off sale rails, the virtuous bags of old clothes we shed to make way for a new version of ourselves.. we only ever have us.
We have arms, legs, eyes and a heart that sees, feels, reads , and loves with abandon. This is the part of our wardrobe worth holding onto and placing on the softest of padded hangers.
Push away kindness, push away the good stuff and keep up the cycle of mistrusting anything which questions what HAS ALWAYS BEEN, is like buying the same jumper that you just gave to a charity shop…
Take a new path
Sometimes, people do actually mean the compliments they give you, and sometimes, the invitations they make are because they want to share something amazing or they see something amazing in you . Choosing to focus on what is actually ok can make you feel richer and more complete, rather than trying to prove yourself right.
It is at this time of year that we all feel like getting rid of things. Eating less, chiselling away at bits of our bodies and sculpting a better version of ourselves. Chucking out the old clothes we don’t wear, and revamping everything from scratch.
It is well trodden path.. a seasonal rollercoaster
Nothing wrong with a good clear out, but what if your focus is at looking at how much you already have?
How does it make you feel?
What if you decide to make your resolution (your revolution according to the monkey..) to banish complete and utter abandonment of what anyone else thinks.
Because they will think what they think anyway!
On Christmas day, It is our thing, to wrap up pretty much everything we can find all year for next to nothing and spend a day feeling like we are Royalty.. Things in vintage shops, things we forget about, little bits of treasure and surprises. An abundance of little wonders and sparkly things. But if you look at one photo of our Christmas day, perhaps we look like spoilt rich folk. Hilarious. If only……
My daughter says her favourite part is watching me open my gifts and mine is seeing her face as she unearths a present I forgot I’d wrapped. Prolonging the joy is a lovely thing and it is valued by us both because we know how much it takes to make it happen..
Living as we do, is a mystery to some. And because of that.. will incur the odd question … Ooh you must be rich to have such a lovely garden/so many shoes/so many options of a flavoured tea bag….. No, I just go out on crutches and feed the plants every day March to October, cherish what is donated to the cause and treasure what is important .. and our classes are fired by pixie dust..( and willing and able helpers) … so that’s that taken care of…
WE are taught to reach for the stars.. to aim high.. to visualise our desires.. but people often don’t like to see abundance. The scales of normality can seem out of kilter with a balance of circumstances we don’t understand. If we see a person with colours, with happiness, with an abundance of spark and joy we feel that something isn’t right and we must crush it before it gets out of hand..
We can’t possibly understand everyone.. So let’s just concentrate on our own potential…
What if we let it be our inspiration? What if we see a lovely thing, and just let it be absorbed? Take from it what makes us happy, and let it float on past?
Having a lot of something isn’t something to be freaked out by. If you want it too.. work towards it. If it isn’t what is part of your plan, let the person enjoy their creation. Don’t belittle, demolish, crush, be jealous of or question what they are doing. Just ask them about it or walk on by!
I truly hope your New year’s Revolution is completely bonkers, and not to just be a bit skinnier. I also hope that some of you will be joining us in classes and at various events this year.
We are abundantly yours in technicolour.. to take into your next adventure.
I love this..
Let’s all be purple at least once a week
This is for G. You know why. x
Stay Warm and Bright, All my lopsided love, Liz xxx
Recently I started to go to an art class, as a member and not as a teacher. It is wonderful. Not only are the people running it wonderfully easy and friendly, open to you creating your own masterpiece instead of drawing their set-up; but the class members are as easy to be in a room with, as a warm fire and your favourite slippers. I love it.
There was a moment in the room recently, where everyone was focused on drawing some Autumn vegetables. After a hub hub of friendly chat, a slow quiet descended in the village hall. Marks were heard softly being etched and traced over paper as curves and leaves of different shaped forms were followed gently by twenty pairs of hands and eyes. It was so still. there was no noise, verbal or otherwise. It was a no space.
The silence was magical. I’ve thought about it a lot since and it was I believe it was a perfect combination of feeling comfortable, feeling unjudged, letting go and trust.
Drawing does something to and for us. When we look, we connect. As simple as that. If we can find a space to feel at ease to do that, it provides a magical harmony between us and the qualities of the object we are celebrating.
You don’t have to be good at drawing to make that happen either, and if you try too hard to find it, you may be missing the point. The point is, not to try. The point is to be, to look, to feel and to get rid of the constant babble chat and judgement.
The end results are not the point. The journey to get there is the crucial reason for picking up your tools.
It doesn’t have to be drawing.. As a very keen and recent amateur gardener, I can safely say that the same thing happens at certain moments when your hands are in soil , the sun is on your face and there is no such thing as clock watching . Planting the seeds of an idea in whatever form you wish is still as magical..
How to get the most out of your drawing
We all have methods we like and don’t like in art. The only way to know what you want as your style is to try many of them out and get to know what your style is.
Drawing is the key to everything. Looking at things around us us to get to know the things we see every day that little bit better. Like unlocking the secrets they were holding all along. Be your own personal camera.
Keep it simple to begin with. Be comfortable. Alawys be comfortable. Whatever that mean to you. take off your shoes, sit on a cushion, sit on a bench. lie on a mat, play music.. My favourite thing to do is to listen to stories while I draw. This takes your naughty and argumentative left brain away from mocking your efforts and leaves your right brain to relax into creating..
Be warm. Especially if like me, your joints are bad. Use your own set of pain criteria to establish your methodolgy. For example, I love detail, but it is soooo painful to do, so I can only draw like that every so often, meaning my style has evolved with my body. No point crying over split milk. I’m never going to do the splits either so I may just enjoy what I can do…
Look at what you are drawing. Not at your paper. Sounds silly, but how can you draw something you are imagining? Do you already know where the light falls on that shell? Where the tiny dots get smaller creating a rhthym to the shape? So look. Paper won’t go anywhere, but just in case, you can wedge it with an elbow.
Begin really softly…….Sketch with a soft pencil. 2B or 4B. They are easier to work with and you can make shadows, rub out and create flow.
Make easy loose marks to start.
Then as you start to work the shape, feeling the weight of your object, use different tones to show how much shadow is in one area compared to another. The darkest being under and in between . Press hard, light, loose and vary your pencil marks.
Your line should start to feel like a natural progression of your eyes looking or your fingers touching the object. Vary the weight of the line you draw to convey a natural mark with depth of shadow within it as you draw.
Keep building both these techniques adding colour/ a wash of watercolour or another tone to define and contrast, or use your sketch as a start for a piece of artwork.
The point is that it meant to be relaxing. It doesn’t matter the tiniest bit if it doesn’t resemble the object.
Do you know how many sketchbooks I’ve ripped up and rearranged? How many times I’ve started over? Keep your ideas, drawings, studies, and rework them into scraps for collage and tester pieces for other ideas.
Never think that anyone else has the secret you don’t .
Enjoy the journey and others on it. Where you get to next …. is anyone’s guess.
Here’s to your creative future.
Love from your creative inner monster…
And me xxx
I am realising that it is often hard for people to believe in goodness. Or people just being nice.
So much so, that we can easily destroy the vital essence of giving, without needing anything in return simply because someone can’t cope with our gift.
And we end up apologising for our choices and kindness because of the recipient’s interpretations and choices.
It is a destructive cycle.
“Surely someone can’t be that nice to me!” …” I’ll check by kicking them. Oh look, they’ve reacted.. not so perfect now, in fact.. maybe they weren’t REALLY so kind in the first place.. Ha ha. Caught you, human like the rest of us and you’ll never be kind to ME again. Ha, that will teach you….”
And then we can so easily get so disillusioned about showing love and kindness that we just don’t bother next time.
What is the point?
But then we remember. Nobody forced our hand to buy that food, or create that perfect party or present. We enjoyed doing it. We loved the process, and the gratitude we felt for who/ what we were doing it for. If the recipient meets the gift or the affection you show with a brick wall, it isn’t because of your failing. Or theirs. But the choice to respond to a situation is out of your hands almost as soon as it is dreamed up.
Which means you are free. Free to keep creating and loving and making gorgeously crazy unique gifts of love in whatever way you see fit ,
because that is who you need to be. You can lead a horse to water.. But you can’t make it put on the jumper you knitted or eat the salt beef and horseradish foccacia which you copied from the latest Jamie..
One day your tribe will come.
If you can look in the mirror and say I am NOT hurting anybody and I am listening to my friends when they say they have enough handbags/picture frames/jars of pickled vegetables/ dvds of old movies stars/ vintage embroidered kerchiefs…..
Then keep being you..
This summer there have been a few unforseen changes of plans. From family to health to eating through a fridge full of food intended for guests who never came,
and the roller coaster journey of a small person with attitude.
We had usually been somewhere hot over the holidays, but having been to Spain twice earlier in the year and having no options to stay elsewhere, there was a delicious and almost rebellious joy in going nowhere in particular . Instead of rushing to be everywhere for anyone who suggested anything, my body dictated we stood still for once. A hard thing to have faith in, but sometimes there’s no choice.
When we first came here I introduced myself to a particular fellow, the grumpy cat of the village.. or so I thought. Our first conversation resulted in him telling me he didn’t want any more friends as they only let you down. .. Oookaaayy…
Fast forward to this week, we just installed my new dustbin holder, which he made and I painted. For which, when I thanked him, I got a huge smacker on the cheek.
We just discussed a project to make my gate look like a bit of an old shipwreck and some collaborative boat ideas. He is lovely. So is his wife. Your new friends can literally be anywhere.
All we did was keep being us.
Sometimes that is so hard. Sometimes you’ll get a reaction like I had this week from someone I am related to, that the love and kindness shown them is just embarrassing. Thoughtful presents and time taken over making memories was (translated as) an act of self gain.
In the past, I would have automatically crumbled and felt terribly guilty (not even knowing why. But stop. Nobody has to bother to be kind and if you are, nobody has to bother with accepting your kindness. You aren’t forcing them. You and they have choices. Good can be overwhelming, if somebody isn’t able to accept it at that moment, back away but never let it stop your true essence.
It is so easy to internalize a rebuke or a put down. But think about it a little bit more. What does it say about the recipient? It is just as much of a skill to receive a compliment or a gift as it is to give it. Sometimes a negative reaction can be about a different thing entirely. Probably nothing to do with your big, ranbow heart gift wrapped upon your sleeve.
Leave them well alone and tiptoe away.. until another day/person/scenario has a gap in their sleeve befitting your heart perfectly…
Who wants to live their life fitting in to the mould of how appropriate the amount of kindness you show should be?
Last week, two amazing people spoke to me over the fence and said they loved our garden. They were staying in the big house round the corner and had loved what we are doing here. ( It is safe to say it is a bit different.) We swapped numbers and details and the lovely lady gave us a bag of organic salad and healthy foods that they couldn’t take home. Today I also got a wonderful letter from the ladies’ friend who himself is an artist, and has had support in mental heath Arts. I was so so chuffed and overwhelmed. Lovely people.. just being kind, tapping into a two-way gift of being nice. Fabulous.
( He did this!!!! How amazing is that !!!)
Our gifted bag of goodies!
I would rather be understood and accepted by half the people I ever meet by being 100% myself; than tolerated by everyone, so that we don’t stand out too much. Who wants to be beige.
Niceness, being kind and open is not a disease. You’ll not catch it, unless you want it to rub off on you. But it can be a pretty nice state of being. And you never know where it might lead you or what lovely people will enter your life.
But who knows what and who you might be missing out on xxx