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JANUARY 2022 Saturday 1.1.22 Still working on a last miniature that I volunteered to paint for Julie… Sunday 2.1.22 …and working on Midweek Commuters. Monday 3.1.22 Ditto Tuesday 4.1.22 Into Cheltenham to drop some turned timber off for John as he has said he will make up a couple of frames for me so that I have a choice for one of the commissions in the pipeline. Frank Rimmer comes to collect the little painting Rowing the Lion that they had bought for each other at Christmas. He tells me that Belinda has always wanted one and is going to hang it in her study and that although he’s not a poet he often goes in there to listen to and talk about her work. Wednesday 5.1.22 Julie comes to collect the painting I have painted especially for her as she ‘phoned within the first few seconds after 6pm on 1st December but it had already gone. I felt so bad that I offered to paint a similar work. She’s going to hang it above the Cat on the red chequered table that she bought last year. Cautiously trying out a few ideas in the studio. Lovely e mail from Stefan in Cologne saying that he now has the miniature in his hand and that he loves it. Thursday 6.1.22 Nathan rings and what seemed like ‘flu but wasn’t covid has almost gone. Clementine is lying on the sofa next to him and I enquire how she is after having lost her dear Dad Peter on Christmas Eve. He says she went back to her Mum’s again yesterday and things are moving more slowly of course because it happened over the holiday season but thinks the funeral might be in the week beginning 24th January. Bea, their boxer puppy, is also lying on the sofa. Friday 7.1.22 I’ve just about finished work on Midweek Commuters and remembered that Philippe had asked me to give him a price on it. So Richard takes two sets of photographs with his mobile ‘phone, the first being not quite square and the second, being rather close was a little distorted in one corner so he sets up the Canon camera on its tripod outside the open studio french windows and gets a good, true and square image using the fixed lens. We then send it and Philippe responds quickly saying he thinks this would be a good one to start his collection with. Saturday 8.1.22 Working on all fronts in the studio, starting a new and also finishing off. Sunday 9.1.22 Henrietta rings. The boys start back at school tomorrow but both seem to have had an enjoyable holiday meeting up with friends and sleepovers etc. She had some lovely notes from her students some of whom ask if they can stay with her rather than moving on to a new tutor this term as she has helped them through a difficult time. Monday 10.1.22 Having been busy in the studio I’m please when I come down for supper that an e mail pops up from Thierry in Paris, who says he has now received the little painting and is obviously very moved by the fact that the proceeds are going to charity. I took the liberty of sending him (like many of the other purchasers) a copy of the Star News which even featured in a post from Osamu Tamura in Japan. It’s a great way of getting people to know about what a wonderful place of learning and support it is. The students are inspirational and the staff so dedicated to helping them all reach their full potential. We are so lucky to have had such a long and happy relationship with them. And by coincidence today I received a thank-you letter from dear Myrtle at More Convent (now in her 90s) through whom I first got to know the students when she was head of art and brought them along to an exhibition I had at the Art Gallery and Museum. Tuesday 11.1.22 Working on all fronts in the studio. Wednesday 12.1.22 I’m working in the studio when I happen to glance out of the circular window to see a man walking down the Lane and getting into a car. It suddenly strikes me it looks like John who makes my frames so I race downstairs and get to the front door just as he is driving past. And there leaning against the outer porch wall are two magnificent frames and on the windowsill two tiny miniature frames exquisitely made - he has even devised and made his own moulding for the two small ones. Such a clever man. Thursday 13.1.22 Samuel’s birthday so we have a Facetime call to see him open the skateboard shoes we have bought for him and the card that we had made. He looks very happy and later does a rather nice dance to the Happy Birthday music when he is about to cut his special cake. We usually go up to celebrate his birthday with him but Kev has had a cold with cough (probably caught at the Chelsea match he took Samuel to as a birthday treat) that yesterday tested negative but today tested positive for Covid so I think he’ll isolate in the flat. Friday 14.1.22 Work in the studio until just before six when Philippe calls from Marseilles to discuss the shipping of the painting and also some of the logistics of creating a commission. We decide to continue the conversation on Sunday or Monday. Saturday 15.1.22 Working in the studio on a piece started just after Christmas. Richard is using is wonderful Japanese saw to cut two half inch thick birch ply panels for the two new beautiful frames that John has made. The Japanese handsaw is amazing since so long as he takes the time it gives a perfect edge unlike most saws which tend to rip into the lower layer of plywood. He has now covered each board with canvas having to open the enormous roll that came from India through Russel and Chapel, a firm that has been dealing in artist’s and theatre canvas for three hundred years. He then cooks a stir fry for which we use two pairs of the exquisite rose wood chopsticks and stands that Canadian Carole sent us from Japan. They were made by a friend of her Japanese husband and should, he says, last a hundred years. Sunday 16.1.22 Working in the studio on all fronts. Richard’s been busy in the garden planting more bulbs - anemone scilla, double tulips, allium etc. as well as clearing a multitude of dead leaves and twigs from the ground. Monday 17.1.22 Clerk to Bishops Cleeve Parish Council informs me that she has just paid £270 into LINC’s account (from the painting I did for them for Councillor Perry’s retirement). So it’s a good feeling when I transfer the £4,730 from the miniatures making it a total of £5,000 and I know this will go to help the haematology patients who are treated by the LINC (leukaemia and intensive chemotherapy) department at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucester Royal. And I am exceedingly grateful to all the dear friends and supporters who once again bought miniatures to help achieve this. Tuesday 18.1.22 Send off cheque to National Star College for £4,730 from the miniatures which added to the £270 for the small painting I did for Bishops Cleeve Parish Council whose payment on my behalf they have just sent to the Star again makes £5,000. It’s wonderful to be able to do this and I know it will please all the people who supported and bought miniatures from the Open Studio just before Christmas. It was thrilling to know that the payment from December 2020 bought outdoor musical instruments for the students at the National Star College. Wednesday 19.1.22 Start work on a new painting Thursday 20.1.22 email from Gill Henry head of philanthropy at the National Starto say both of the payments have arrived. Friday 21.1.22 in the Studio. Saturday 22.1.22 Send for the white helmet that Isaac has requested for his Birthday to wear when doing amazing stunts on his scooter. Sunday 23.1.22 In Studio. Monday 24.1.22 E mail from Yoship , curator at the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art saying they have now sold out of the catalogues they produced on my work in 2018 and are planning a new edition that will also include their latest two acquisitions, the 3D work Stepping Out and Metamorphosis which featured in their major exhibition of surrealism last year with Dali, de Chirico etc. A lovely call from Nancy who sounds bright and witty as she always has, re a small commission that her son John in the US would like me to paint. He phones shortly afterwards and although we haven’t seen him for many years, the time lapse melts away as we talk. His voice is very like his brother Peter’s and also dear Ken his late father. He and Heather live in a beautiful house at Cape Cod. They have two sons Marshall and Jordan and the commission is to be a wedding gift for the latter and his bride Eliza. Tuesday 25.1.22 We drive to Amersham to the Milton Chapel for the funeral service of Peter, Clementine’s father. A large number of people are there and it’s particularly fascinating when Clementine’s mother’s best friend reads the eulogy. Peter and his twin brother Paul went to Gordonstoun and on leaving went into engineering. At the age of 21 both he and Paul decided they were going to buy a vintage Bentley like their father had. It became the passion of both their lives. They both became managing directors of the family haulage business. In his twenties Peter developed diabetes. When he and Katherine married they were given a puppy boxer as a wedding present - Rebecca - who Clementine says was rather like a sibling to her when she was a small child. They used to take their Bentleys to Prescott etc. The person he sold it to a few years ago positioned it outside in the gardens for us all to admire - it is immaculate, a 1927 4.5 litre model and had travelled as far as Australia to compete. We first met Peter at the premiere of the film ‘I am not a witch’ which Nathan and Clementine both worked on in Zambia. He was a sweet gentle and charming man. After the ceremony we all go to the Black Horse in Fulmer where Peter and Paul used to drink as young men. It has a very nice atmosphere and a lot of reminiscing goes on. We bid farewell to Katherine, Clementine and Nathan arriving home about 8 o’clock. Wednesday 26.1.22 R set himself the task of putting all the KC discs etc that have reproduced my work along with the full paintings as for the most part they reproduced details. Just when he thought it was completed he discovered an extra Japanese version which used Waiting from Nancy and the late Professor Ken’s collection. Thursday 27.1.22 Nice little e mail from Philippe who apologises for the delay in bing in contact as he’s been travelling. I tell him he doesn’t need to apologise as we’ve also been busy so we understand. R cycles into Cheltenham to take two different types of moulding to John W including pieces for a triangular shape. Friday 28.1.22 E mail from John S with the dimensions for the small commission. Saturday 29.1.22 To Gilyhayes to discuss a commission with Viv and Paul taking two frame types to give them a choice. They had already decided on the size so we had the two alternatives made up in advance. It’s so good to talk to them over the tea and cake they have prepared . It’s also good to catch up with Paul on things happening at the National Star - Paul is chair of the trustees. He tells me about the new accommodation block they are building for the students who live in Elizabeth House in Gloucester which as students now have rather more complex disabilities is not as well suited to their needs as it could be, having to keep two separate ‘kits’ both in Gloucester and up at the Star, having to get up early to travel to Ullenwood by the College bus especially in cold weather is not as comfortable for them as it might be. Sunday 30.1.22 Back in the studio, after ordering more lateral flow tests it’s a brilliant service as they usually arrive promptly and are free of charge. Monday 31.1.22 E-mail from Viv telling us more about their own charitable foundation which they set up after selling their chemical business. The Cotswold Primrose Foundation gives grants to various mainly local charities. Although they have recently funded a rather wonderful book with hand painted raised illustrations for blind ad visually impaired children which offers a wide rang of exciting children’s books that are often narrated by the author or a famous actor etc.which is a national charity. They have also been involved in setting up a musical hub where youngsters with disabilities can go and make their own recordings etc in Gloucester.
MAY