Sometimes…

sometimes-art-journal-page

Art journal page using coloured ink, wax crayon, biro, watercolour pencil, and words from ‘Sometimes’ by Sheenagh Pugh. My mum’s had this poem pinned up at home for about 20 years, but it never stops feeling relevant, and hopeful. Every time it says “man”, feel free to add “or woman”, if that’s what’s happening in your part of the world!

Hello September

Autumn days

Sketchbook page inspired by the approach of my favourite season. A favourite song from my school days, ‘Autumn Days’ by Estelle White, has been playing on a loop in my head this week. Some of the lyrics are so evocative that I can’t resist including it here:

Autumn days when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell.
Jetplanes meeting in the air to be refuelled.
All these thing I love so well

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget.
To say a great big
Thank You
I mustn’t forget

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And the winters moon with frosted rings.
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget.
To say a great big
Thank You
I mustn’t forget

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that’s been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Page created using Seawhite ink and Derwent Watercolour and Inktense pencils. Wasn’t sure about the Inktense when I first got them, but now I like using them alongside watercolour pencils to create stronger outlines.

Happy Autumn!

Knowledge is Power

Books

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

                                                                                                                   Henry David Thoreau

Mixed-media sketchbook page incorporating titles of the books I think have most shaped my outlook. Inevitably, as soon as I’d finished it I remembered two more books which were important to me: E M Forster’s A Room with a View, which sparked my (distance) love affair with Italy; and Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner, which I read after seeing it on a list of novels about happy single women (yes, it was a short list). Which books have changed your life?

M.E. Awareness Week

Quotations on blue

It’s M.E. Awareness Week 9th-15th May in the UK, and International M.E. Awareness Day today (May 12th). M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and is defined by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disease. There are 250,000 people living with this debilitating illness in the UK alone, of which I am one.

For many of us the illness was triggered by a viral infection, although there are other possible triggers. The best-known symptom is fatigue, sometimes severe fatigue, although this does lead to misconceptions about the illness. It’s not just about being tired! We have limited reserves of energy, and when we’ve used them up we get ill. ‘Post-exertional malaise’ – a delayed and prolonged reaction to activity – is a defining feature of M.E.

For me, the main problems are headaches/migraines and low blood pressure/dizziness. For others, symptoms include muscle and joint weakness and pain, light and noise sensitivity, and ‘brain fog’ (difficulty speaking or thinking clearly). M.E. varies hugely in severity – a few people lead an almost-normal life while others are bed-bound. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, but severely affected patients live with constant exhaustion and pain. M.E. also fluctuates – we tend to have good days and bad days, and on a good day it can seem to others as though there’s nothing wrong with some of us. If only!

This illness can vary greatly so it’s hard to do it justice in a short paragraph, and I know I won’t have described everybody’s experience (it’s not called a complex multi-system disorder for nothing!). The M.E. Association explains all this sooo much better than I can – please visit their website for more information on the condition and the current research, and to support their valuable work if you can.

Today’s artwork includes some of my favourite quotations, the ones that reflect my experience of, and attitude to, life with a chronic medical condition. Some of the quotes reflect the courage and kindness of my family and my M.E. friends. What words of wisdom get you through the day (and night)?

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“Fall, leaves, fall…”

Autumn art journal pages:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Brontë

Autumn is my favourite season, and this poem perfectly sums up my feeling of elation as the leaves turn. Art journal pages using collage and mixed media, and coloured biro.

© Dark and Bright Art 2015