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  • Writer's picturesoph

Wandering off course.

A5 Mixed media: watercolour and acrylic ink on 300gsm aquarelle
Everything plus the Kitchen Sink

My intention in writing this blog was to explore all the many happening in my life regarding art. And there are, indeed, so many exciting, frustrating, rewarding, noteworthy happenings to record, that often I don't want to stop my engagement to write here, which is actually rather counterintuitive, because I am a great chronicler by nature. I once asked a friend, long before I was a mother and decades before the invention of digital cameras and social media, "What if I had a child and I took a photo of them every day, standing in the same position, in the same spot, just to note their growth and changes on that micro level? Do you think it would damage them?" And my friend was so disparaging and told me I was a freak, that I put the idea in a mental box and felt horribly ashamed.

But then the world ended up here...

Anyway, as I sit and am reminded by my smartphone to stop the second lesson of my course with Este Macleod "Colour Collage 1", which I can only do in theory because there was an inexplicable 16 day delay in the dispatch of the specialty paper I need to do the practice (the paper is not available in Australia and is therefore coming from the UK, and the best substitutes are all offshore as well) I have been filled with thoughts about my Dad, who's death freed me up to be able to embark on this artistic adventure.

Dad wrote me a letter, 13 years before he died. He obviously never felt the need to revise it. I'm sure he knew it was there, on top of the inside of a box in a cupboard in his study. I didn't know of it until 284 days after his death when I first went into his study and opened a cupboard to "just see what was in there".

He thanked me for looking after his sister until she died in my early twenties. And also for taking care of him as he was facing a perilous brain tumour operation. That was the catalyst for this letter. This operation could've been the end of him. Little did he know what lay ahead of him, of us, in the intervening years and how we would be bound together through my raising a child without his father and Dad opening his home to us. Dad surviving endless complex medical problems and near death episodes. There was also the death of my brother. There was a lot.

In it, he said, that he hoped he hadn't been a burden, which of course he never had been. It had been so good to spend time with him. Always. I was just sorry he had to go through so much pain, discomfort and discombobulation at the end. But he was never a burden, I just have to say that. And he said that as a natural consequence for my effort I would be blessed with a greater happiness.

My engagement with art gives me that great happiness. I don't know if I can say that it is greater happiness, but it IS great and it is growing as I become more proficient and I see progress. I am incredibly grateful for everything I have, especially the time I have now, and also the knowledge I have gained over the last decade since my injury of how to make my body, in conjunction with medication, do what I need it to do.

Dedicating this post to Auntie Olga and Uncle Paul, my father's sister-in-law and her brother, who are both in aged care and are having a hard time right now. And also to my cousins, Dallas, Nathalie and Mia who are responsible for their care. I love you all.

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