Nice e-mail from Matthew the registrar at the university about the plans for their students when they reopen this month. The logistics for doing this must be incredibly difficult and they are also appealing for donations to the student crisis fund as many will be having financial difficulties. If you and your children have like me and mine benefited from a university education it is a good the opportunity to contribute to the poor students having to study under such difficult circumstances in this the era of the pandemic, remembering that every little helps and that young people are our future. https://store.glos.ac.uk/product-catalogue/donations/covid-19-recovery-fund.
Ian and Maeve come at 3.30 to collect their painting ‘The First Extinction Rebellion’ which I think is to celebrate a special wedding anniversary. It’s lovely to see them both looking bright and happy and to hear the story of how they met when Maeve was only fifteen. We sit in the marquee enjoying Richard’s banana loaf and walnut cookies and a cup of tea or glass of red wine. I was very surprised when I entered the marquee just before they arrived that there seemed to be two of the lantern heaters reflected in the glass of the door as I came through but sure enough the were two, the second having arrived only two days after ordering it and Richard had fixed it up in the last half hour to surprise me. Ian said he thought we must have had the marquee made specially to fit that space but in fact we were just exceedingly lucky that the dimensions were exactly the same as the courtyard except that Richard had to raise it about a foot on small brick platforms so that it would clear the door into the house. We have been having our supper in there most evenings, lit by a most beautiful glass lantern that my Mum had bought for my birthday a couple of years before she died. It takes four wide candles.
Schools are starting back this week and as I busy myself working on a sculpture I’ve been contemplating for several months, I also ruminate on the difficulties that schools teachers and pupils will have to overcome to succeed and likewise colleges like Gloucestershire College and universities. I think primary schools will fare best as younger children seem to be the least affected
Richard’ s cutting back is encompassing a large area at the front of the house. The wayward rambling rose, and the wandering wisteria entwines with the Mexican jasmine, honeysuckle and ivy forming a vast hedge that he felt must go! so we have had to re think and reconfigure now that it is now open and light.
E-mail from The Chelsea Arts Club to say that their income has been lowed considerably by the pandemic and the restrictions it needs for us all to keep safe. So they are suggesting that as their address is 143 Old Church Street that £143 might be a good sum to ask each member to donate to help keep it afloat. Just as last week’s appeal was from the University for their student crisis fund, particularly addressing the Fellows and a week or so before that the Royal West of England Academy which also offers many educational facilities was short of £25,000 towards getting their Heritage Lottery matched funding in place by 15th September so I sent them a couple of thousand and others must have done likewise as they’d got it in place by the end of August. Likewise all the charities I am connected to are struggling to raise funds as so many charitable events have had to be curtailed due to covid-19 so we have to help as best we can. In 2020 the widows mite is still as important as it was two thousand years ago
Richard cycles into the hospital Linc department for them to take blood samples to analyse. He then cycles all the way back to wait for his consultant to ring. I’m listening intently upstairs for the phone but Richard has answered it so quickly that I don’t hear it but am overwhelmed with joy when he comes up to tell me that she has just phoned and that his white blood cells are stable and fine at the moment and his liver and kidneys are working well too. So a big sigh of relief and big smiles. She said that with low grade folicular lymphoma the progress is usually very slow and asked him if he’d felt anything different.
We’re so excited as Nathan and Clementine have driven down from London. They walk around the garden to see & admire all Richard’s gardening achievements. It’s the first time since we’ve seen them since mid January. Both looking well and beautiful. Nathan cooks the tuna steaks which Richard has marinated. on the barbeque. He used the sticks that I collect that have blown down from the trees in the wind each day as kindling. It’s such a lovely evening, hearing about all they have been up to work-wise. The red wine flows and there is much laughter.
Text from lovely Mags to say that Nicks dear sweet mother Celia had died. Write back to Mags to ask her to give him a big hug from us.
I’m really pleased as Nathan comes over at midday saying they slept really well which is good as they have been finding it hard to sleep in the flat in Hackney as noise levels and partying outside have increased since covid restrictions came in. They are currently looking to buy a new home.
Nathan lights the barbeque again and we have monkfish and vegetable kebabs which are again delicious.
The time goes all too quickly and they set out for London again about 4.30 pm and I feel a happiness mingled with a little sadness as I realise we may not get to see them for a while as it seems further lockdowns may be announced on Tuesday as the numbers of covid 19 cases have begun to swell at an alarming rate and the world health organisation has said that Europe, which I still feel includes us, must take it seriously.
Write to dear Nick to say how sorry we were to hear the sad sad news that he had lost his darling Mum Celia. I know she will have been so proud of him and all his siblings and just how happy it made her when Nick and Mags (whom she already knew) got together and were married. Losing one’s mother is always such a big wrench as she is normally the person if we are fortunate we have known longest in all our lives.
Working on new painting as I always begin to feel a bit insecure when I haven’t got any new work to hand which I won’t when I send in to the RWA online tomorrow.
Sweet e mail from Nick to say that he had written the eulogy which he read at his mother’s funeral and that there were even people standing outside the church in her memory.
This week in the Chelsea Arts Club year book it features a reproduction of my painting “Harvest” from the Four Seasons which now live in a collection in Australia.
Send off images to the RWA for the annual exhibition. It’s always a dilemma knowing what to send, if one sends something smaller because it’s more likely to sell and help the Academy’s coffers, it’s probably not going to be very noticeable and of course larger more expensive works don’t sell there. The year before last my painting ‘The Shepherd’ was the most expensive sale at a lower price than my usual and it wasn’t a big picture. Last year I sent two paintings which both sold but to my collectors, which were also smaller works of the same scale. At the moment of course they need all the money they can make for funding to match that from the National Lottery to fund the grand ‘Light & Inspiration’ appeal for the superb new development.
John comes with the beautiful octagonal frame he has just made for me. It looks perfect and so brilliantly crafted. We sit at a distance and enjoy a cup of tea and Richard’s walnut cookies and discuss him making a further frame using another of the mouldings that I designed and other ideas.
Nancy and Peter come to collect their little painting and the larger one I had repaired for them. It’s such a joy to see them. Nancy is the most remarkable woman, still beautiful and full of grace and coping well after losing dear Ken in May. Peter is a wonderful son, it’s so good that he and his family live next door to her, in Buckinghamshire. Last time Peter brought an amazing origami Jacob’s Ladder he’d made which Isaac and Samuel couldn’t believe was constructed out of paper so they will be in total disbelief that the brilliant slinky he presented us with this time is also made out of paper. We sit and chat over our cups of tea and smoked salmon from Hackney Wick on Richard’s freshly made bread and a new batch of walnut cookies sitting in the garden room with the french windows open as the ground under the marquee was rather wet from the recent rain.
John comes again to collect some more turned timber as we must have given some from two different batches that weren’t quite the same.
Richard’s very pleased as when he open the new Cotswold Life that has just come through the letter box there is a feature on Broadway by Tracy Spears ad a considerable part of it focused on Trinity House Modern where she is photographed next to one of my large paintings and a sculpture and on the next page there is a large photograph of my two big horses outside.
John had been discussing electric bikes with Richard as the hills into Cheltenham are very steep so this afternoon John is going to try out the bike that Richard bought from Jane and he is going to accompany him on his bright red La Pierre. So after John had taken turn round the block on the Wispa they cycled to the theatre in Cheltenham and back and John seems to be very impressed so we have lent it to him.
Henrietta phones in the evening and she is on her own with the boys as Kev is walking in the Lake District with his Dad, a birthday treat Kev gives him each year.
E mails from Maxine re collection of their painting ‘Noah’s Child’ and also one from Jenny Scarbro re collection of her ‘Distanced Dancing’.
Nice call from Henrietta who had enjoyed her day in with her students at Goldsmiths, looking at and discussing the works in the exhibition space. She spoke to me on the bus home through her mask.
Nathan and Clementine rang in the evening as it is our anniversary.
Richard’s finished cutting the birch ply boards, sticking the canvas on and priming two of the large octagonal frames. He’s very pleased as he purchased a rather amazing Japanese pull saw which is wonderfully lightweight, has a blade on each side, is incredibly sharp and cuts very cleanly without ripping any of the birch wood. I’m now also busily starting to paint the miniatures and small works for my charity exhibition at Christmas.
We’ve just packed up a box of presents for Henrietta’s birthday on Friday, including a tiny paintings and the new edition of the big ‘Art’ book with its stylish shocking pink cover. It again features a reproduction of my ‘Deadline’ which is in the collection of the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art in Japan. Also the latest edition of Tate etc magazine featuring some wonderful work by a black South African photographer Zanele Muholi on transgender and gay people there, who are often under threat of violence.also a Bruce Nauman both exhibiting at Tate Modern and another exhibition by a black English painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Tate Britain as well as Turner.
Lovely e mail from artist Jane Ware who helps organise Art in the Park etc. saying how good it was to see the photograph of my horses etc in Cotswold Life in Tracy Spiers’ feature on Broadway which we had seen but then she went on to say also how good it was see a reproduction of Richard’s painting ‘The Smallest Toyshop’ in the Echo. She says that she loved that shop as her parents used to bring her from Stourbridge where they lived and that as a child it was her favourite shop in the Promenade and they often bought her a special small toy there as a treat for being good. So we reply to say that Richard will give her one of the posters from his exhibition at the Art Gallery & Museum some years ago where the beautiful painting featured on the poster, filling the sheet. Jane will give him the piece from the Echo which she saved. What a nice way to finish the month.