‘In the absence of sleep, my restless nights have been fuelled by my overactive imagination, weaving waking dreams onto the canvas of conception. Filling my head with lots of ideas waiting to be born into reality. I am eager to return to my beautiful mistress, Creation!’
I love the sky.
Every night at about 10.30, I take Perdita, the Wire-haired Dachshund who shares my home, outside for her late night ablutions! I look up at the sky hanging luminously above me. So vast and wide. The stars seem to blink and glitter their acknowledgment of small, insignificant me. It is at that time that I always speak to God about my day. Last night I looked up in eager anticipation of seeing the twinkle in ‘God’s eyes’ but it was a cloudy night and the stars were covered.
“I see you’re wearing your sunglasses tonight, Lord,” my heart remarked laughing.
It’s strange how skies change in different countries. I have just been in Norfolk, England. There the skies are vast, wide and open. Clouds play a perpetually changing part. The sky is either cirrus streaked or else dotted with cotton wool hummocks that constantly glide into new ever changing patterns.
If I was a painter, skies would form a large part of my paintings.
In Norfolk, I met Sally Temple. In the 60’s, she would definitely have been a gregarious, fun loving hippy! She is Bohemian in her manner and dress. I liked this wide smiling person instantly. She was wearing this gorgeous straw hat which I coveted! She is an artist and her love of the changing sky is clearly evident in her work. As she says: “I love the sky. It is dramatic with the light always changing. So much scope for an artist!”
At college, her art teacher played an incredibly important role in Sally becoming the artist she is today. He blindfolded his students and passed them each a bag. In their bags were items like spaghetti, jelly, rags and mud. They had to put their hands into their bags and paint what they felt. Sally found this a marvellously liberating experience. There were feelings and emotions within her fingertips that she hadn’t been aware of. That day she began painting with her fingers rather than the expected sable brush. And she has never stopped. She had found her niche!
She went on to study art at university. Unfortunately her lecturer was a dour traditionalist in his teaching methods, being particularly keen on still life. I would hate to have to paint a still life. It has no vigour and energy to it. Unless I was Picasso. Then a jug, orange and a litchi can turn into items magnificent in their shape, colour and size! Sally is not Picasso. She found her creative juices were being stunted and impeded. In utter frustration, she quit her course.
Fortunately her aunt, a discerning woman, commissioned a painting from Sally. Tentatively Sally began. As she worked so a smile appeared on her face. She was doing what she was meant to be doing. Her fingers moved with an enervating joy. Her aunt was so delighted with the result that two more paintings were commissioned. Sally had lost her zeal for painting during the ‘still life’ period. Her aunt believed in her. And with this belief, she gave ‘the painter’ back to Sally. She began to paint with a vigour and an exhilaration that had been lost for a long time.
Sally looks on painting as a kind of therapy. The creative process involved in expressing herself artistically is often a healing process. It reaffirms her self esteem. She has become more aware of colours and shapes. She feels the world in a different way and is then able to transfer these emotions through her fingers onto paper.
“I find the painter, Turner, so inspiring. His use of light is breathtaking. I can learn so much from him. When people look at your work and come away with certain things in life reaffirmed or changed, then your art has accomplished it’s purpose. Change, reaffirmation, seeing with new eyes. Those are things that I hope to bring about in my work.”
One of the highlights of a recent exhibition, was the comment made by a visitor: “Your painting is very Turneresque!”
Sally felt she had finally arrived!
When I was 21 in England, I came across rolling hills peppered everywhere with an array of daffodils. Sally’s painting of yellow flowers beneath a massive sky, brought that long forgotten scene into focus with utter clarity. Wordsworth’s words instantly tumbled into my mind:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Unfortunately that painting had already been sold. Or fortunately for my pocket!
From an early age, Sally’s dream was to be an artist. Today her beautiful pictures grace peoples walls. Dreams are vital to us. They are what make you wake up in the morning and try again. I believe that they are what make your whole life worth living. I remember dreaming that I would walk again when the doctors had given up hope. Today I walk with a limp but I am walking. I dreamed of going back onstage once more when I was unable to talk, walk or hear. Four years after my fall, you can only imagine the joy I felt bowing at the end of my performances. Sally has always dreamed of painting. So much delight has entered the world because of that dream.
Without our dreams we are nothing!