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Washing away the dust of everyday life.

A few things have happened in the past week.

Firstly, my inspiration and our most lovely friend passed away. She was an incredible artist who worked mostly in textiles, but even visiting her at her home I would always come away inspired… her jar of paint brushes, her bowl of yarns carefully selected colour wise, her garden a myriad of different colours year round. A most generous , kind and caring person I have yet to meet. I was allowed to join this rather amazing group of people that would meet at her house and discuss such interesting topics under the Guild of Pastoral Psychology. Often at those meetings she would also read some of her poetry. She led a long life and even when her hands failed her for sewing and fine detail she still made abstract cards in bright colours which she was so generous at sharing with others with her notes and letters.

I also encountered the complete opposite of this wonderful person. Jealousy is not a good trait in people nor are attempts to threaten and bully. I would normally have crumbled given these encounters. My mental health, like so many people has suffered over the past few years. I turned to spending more time with my art as a means to stop my mind from overwhelming me quite so much… to turn my day into thinking about the things that I love most… family, animals and music rather than dwelling on other things. Normally, this sort of nastiness would have derailed me for a while sending my stress levels soaring…. but this positive connection between art and mental health leads to lower stress levels and greater mental calmness. ( unless the dogs get hold of a tube of paint and puncture it ! … yes that has happened) I feel very sorry for people like this… something has made them the person they are. I know my dear friend Clare was a loving and forgiving person who led a Christian life in the church and she wouldn’t have been angry with them she would have been concerned and forgiving… I am learning to not overthink and to “let it go” what a good feeling that is.

The subjects of my work can be thought provoking… I get very emotionally involved with what is on my easel… Mostly animals, they too bring a calmness. There is no wrong answer either in art… It is a problem solving exercise, it encourages creative thinking, and observation skills . Art is like another language that people interpret for themselves… When you complete a project you have a sense of accomplishment…. and it makes you feel good. You don’t need to create a masterpiece even the colours used can impact how we feel.

The health benefits to art are immense….I am forever grateful for the inspiring people that I have met on my journey but I will always have a special memory and great thanks for the day I first met Clare and saw all the fabulous things that she has sewn or painted, for her words of poetry and for her friendship. These types of friends are important.

Clare’s final words from one of the cards she sent me …

“I just hope that things continue to go well for you with slight adjustments or maybe some very big ones”

Clare ... "I'm on it .... "

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