For me, painting is like storytelling; another medium to creatively put down thoughts. I started painting years ago, then when we bought our current house and white-washed the walls, I saw blank canvasses I was driven to fill. As with my first book, Return of the Mantra, thoughts born from time spent in Sudan and South Africa would feature in those canvasses.
There’s a reason why people in the UK obsess about the weather, when all four seasons can happen in one day. Conversations often feature words like nippy, overcast, drizzling… and end with dismayed comments like, ‘I’ve got washing on the line,’ or optimistic comments like, ‘it’s turned out nice again’. So after weeks of an uncommon and persistent heatwave, variable weather is back on the agenda.
It’s been a busy few months amid an unusual heatwave. Long sunny days are a great excuse to get out and about and enjoy the delights of your local area. I often think people’s tendency to explore gets saved for when they’re away on holiday, but what about the treasures on our own doorsteps? For me that’s Devon, and while we haven’t actually ‘been away’, we have made a point of having holiday days.
It’s the Monday after a gloriously sunny weekend spent at the Exeter Respect Festival: a fabulous event to celebrate our diverse communities. Among live music, singing, and spoken word, the park is filled with a bustling array of stalls, food, and campaigns. Whether you want to sample authentic Syrian cuisine, be amazed by flamenco dancers, or shop for handicrafts from all corners of the world… Exeter Respect carries the message, ‘all different, all equal’.
I often think of writing as tapping into that introverted side of yourself. Time spanning hours, days, months and years are spent alone, with your own head for company, creating worlds, characters, themes and plots that will ultimately blend into your story. And all the while that story sits in the comfort of your carved out niche, told only to you and your nearest and dearest.
I once saw a picture of an imagined futuristic image of how people would evolve; how they’d look in years to come judging by human behaviour. Essentially it involved alarmingly long fingers, a deeply curved spine, and a seriously overweight body – a future born from sitting hunched over a screen, typing. When I thought of my daily life, much of it sitting at a computer, it got me thinking – I have to get out more!