Thursday 31 May 2012

Visit to Oxfam offices

I've had an interesting day today - a couple of weeks ago I received and email from Harriet in the Manchester office:

"I wanted to drop you a line and say hello - I am Oxfam's regional fundraiser, based out of our Manchester office, and recently became aware of the fantastic fundraising you are doing through your artistic talents! It would be really great to meet you in person and see if there is anything I can do to support your activity. We are so grateful for your support! " 

I wanted to tell you about it, cos its you who make it possible by donating to Oxfam for my paintings. I went to Manchester and met with Harriet and Vic, we talked for about an hour - me explaining why I do this (because I can, because people in Chad are my neighbours as much as the person at no. 9 where I live, because if we all did just a bit, the world would be a better place), how it all started and about you, the people I paint for.

They have invited me to an exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery in July (to look, not exhibit!) and have offered all sorts of support if I ever want to hold a local event.

I feel very privileged to do what I do, its entirely thanks to you that over the last few years people have been given the means to produce their own food - you've purchased flocks of goats, herds of cows, a classroom, school dinners, seeds, all sorts of life's essentials.

Thank you.

Monday 21 May 2012

Guitaroo Man

Its been a while since I posted - I started a new job last week, and that and its run-up has pulled me away from painting. never a good thing!

My next painting should have been something from Portal 2 for Willeth, but he's insisting on waiting until I've completed it before he shows me what he'd like. He may be waiting a while, as I'm very slow, and quite scared of the gun turrets!

I've moved on to the next painting on my Oxfam fundraising list, and its Guitaroo Man for Jessie.

Here's the source image:

I'll be starting the pencil outline today.

Saturday 12 May 2012

National ME Awareness Day

Today is National ME Awareness Day in the UK.

I have ME/CFS, have had for almost 7 years now. Having this illness has changed my life dramatically - there are many things I can no longer do because of having ME/CFS, many things I have had to give up. I used to be a keen cyclist, cycling 60 - 80 miles per week for fun, 120 per week when in training for races. I used to swim a mile a week, run 2, circuit train and go to the gym. Some days now, I can't walk down the stairs in one go, its too tiring.

I used to hide how ill I was - I was afraid of being judged by people, people not believing there was anything wrong with me, but I've stopped doing that - it doesn't help me, just adds to the stress of having this illness. I've decided that if people don't accept me for who I am, its their loss, not mine. 

There are more people with ME/CFS in the UK than with MS - but with very little research being carried out. The impact of both these illnesses is similar, they are sometimes misdiagnosed for each other. There's no effective treatment for it, you simply have to learn to live with the limitations they impose on your life. If you are going to get better, you do within 2 years of onset of ME/CFS, and it helps if you're young. Barring an intervention from God, I guess I'm stuck with it.

There have been some benefits, though - without having ME I would not have started painting again, would not have this website, would not be the minor geek I am today. I would be too busy rushing around from place to place to have time to smell the flowers, spend time with friends and family or even just chill a little. My life was one great big rush.

Now, I have no choice - the only way I can go fast is when I drive, and then I don't, as if I lost my licence through speeding, I wouldn't be able to go out at all, as I can't walk very far!

I paint. I paint when I'm too tired to do anything else: it has kept me sane, kept the demons of depression away, given me something positive to do that other people value and enjoy. It is useful and productive: where I used to cycle to raise money for charity, now I paint. I *like* painting very much.

I would like to thank everyone involved in my life for supporting me and caring for and about me. I would also like to thank all the people over the last 4 1/2 years who have commissioned paintings from me - you have been a part of keeping me sane!

Thank you, one and all.

If you would like to know any more about ME/CFS, either check their website out, or just ask me!

Sunday 6 May 2012

Darkwing duck is finished

At last it's done, and has headed off to the States - I've had no internet for a couple of days (floorboard sanding people accidentally sanded through the phone wire!), but have a new phone and internet! Yay!

Here's the painting:

Close-up left:

Close-up right:

I'm not sure what I'm painting next - I may well do one for Child's Play.