Sunday, 21 April 2013


I have not felt like painting this week, when really it is in difficult times like this that I need more than anything to create something other, something that hopefully stands apart from all the shit, a beacon of truth amidst the confusion and a personal symbol of worth.

I was quite up for the idea of being positive. The plan was to get back to my art after the school holidays and not to moan for at least 24 hours, not even silently in my own head. To not even groan about having an aching, old person's tired body for as long as I can remember. Maybe if I could trick myself into behaving as if everything was great and fair, I could also trick the world and my body into giving me a break.

Alas, this is not the way life is, things are not as they are "supposed" to be, my ideals are just my ideals, not necessarily everyone elses. Imagining I have Snow White's birds fluttering above me whilst squirrels help me to wash the dishes is not going to change the reality that life is often a struggle. A nice cup of tea can help to distract you but it does not take away a  reality that needs attending. We have had a week of nostalgia brought about by Thatcher's death and all the bitterness that her memory stirs up for many people and the legacy she gave us, combined with atrocities and disasters in America. Ultimately, the events of this week and the discrepancies in the news coverage of the Boston bombings and subsequent manhunt have left me unable to believe anything I am told by the media. The exposing of familiar and trusted celebrities as pedophiles just adds to the fact that nothing is ever as it seems. Looking back to the nineties, I decided to re-watch the drama, Our Friends in the North, which brilliantly depicts our paths through time. It also highlights the sham of our society, whatever the government. On a lighter note it is worth watching to see the actors who will become the future Doctor Who and James Bond.

At the same time as these world events I found out that the nerve in my daughter's eye is pale and this could mean that her left eye will never be much use to her. They don't know for sure. With doctors it is always a case of wait and come back and tell us what happens. She is nearly 6, and has had regular eye tests since the age of 2, but they have only just noticed this. I now have to cover her good eye with a patch rendering her almost blind, combined with her hearing and balance problems. The hope is that her bad eye will improve. There is no guarantee due to the discovery of the pale nerve, but we have to try for her however difficult it may be in the short term. This news was quickly followed by a letter arriving saying I owe over £2000 due to an overpayment in child tax credit made by the government in 2009. This has been passed onto a debt company. This is a complete shock, and I don't think there is anything I can do to dispute it. 2009 seems so long ago to me it has become part of the Blur/Blair years. By that I mean I can no longer remember any details. I have had to work my way through repaying a lot of debts after the break up with an alcoholic partner and I believed I had got my family onto safe ground and the Tsunami of shit had passed. As I said, life is not as it is supposed to be. Our whole idea of what life is can be ripped apart at any moment and it is not easy to pick ourselves up again and again. I have fault lines caused by the trauma of life's events that reopen all too easily.

Should I be writing this? I don't know, but I have written it for two reasons. One is that hiding away in denial does not help and revealing all this helps me to break through the isolation of carrying these burdens alone. For example, it helps me to say out loud to you that I have been changing my daughter's nappies for nearly six years now and I am fed up of shit. This is not going to change anytime soon as she is still not able to adequately communicate. It's acceptable for me to feel this way. Most parents are fed up after two years of changing nappies. This is my lot, but speaking out enables me to look at my life with some perspective. Ideally I would climb to the top of a hill and scream at the landscape "I AM FED UP OF SHIT!" Ideally as a society we would shout out together. The second reason is in reaction to the coverups in our society and I would like my troubles to count for something. We are all walking through mud and plagued by varying degrees of shit. I hope my words help someone to trudge on.

As I am writing this my 4 year old son came to me with a flower. A dandelion he had found in the garden. Such a beautiful act, it brought tears to my eyes. My boyfriend has been in the kitchen and made an apple pie for us. Shall we put the kettle on then? I don't want to face things but tomorrow I will go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau and try to tackle this debt we can not afford, and begin the treatment with my daughter's patches. If I get chance I am going to begin working on a painting I have been wanting to do for some time entitled "Modern Bacchus". Again it is a testament to what can happen in life that is often hidden. Our circumstance is seldom chosen and never certain and there is often no justice for what happens. Shit happens. Art can be a way to document and make sense of things. A billboard of distress. A flower in the dirt.

Sketch for Modern Bacchus
Photoshop effects
 Above is a sketch working out colours and composition done in felt tip pen and then altered with Photoshop. I am interested in experimenting with this image using simple printmaking techniques. Now I had better go and wash the school uniforms which I should have done earlier.


  1. A beautiful, real, and incredibly touching post Julie. I'm really glad you wrote, keep writing if you feel it. I find this post very healing in it's honesty it helps me also to face my reality 'my lot'. Thank you! warmest hugs to you.

  2. Sending love and hugs back to you x

  3. I loved reading this its very close to my reality there are so many awful things in this life I pretend its not all happening but sometimes a bill a husband just ruin everything :) Im also dreading a huge tax credit bill! You are an inspiration x

    1. This means so much to me, thank you for letting me know. I don't feel like much of an inspiration. We all walk our own paths, but sharing, even moaning, helps us to know we are not really alone. I will try again to be positive next week x