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APRIL 2022 Friday 1.4.22 It seems hard to believe that it’s already the first of April, until I look out of the bedroom window to see that the lilac blossom although still green, has already formed. Richard plants some new trees having already put in five more evergreen honeysuckles, two kiwis and a plumbago, so hope this cold snap doesn’t do them any damage after last week’s spell of glorious sunshine and raised temperatures. Saturday 2.4.22 Nice mention of Martin Bailey on the times Literary Supplement referencing the catalogue and exhibition that he has been working on of Vincent van Gogh self-portraits at the Courtauld Institute. Sunday 3.4.22 Wonderful to see James Campbell’s review of the Ashmoleon’s Pissaro exhibition and mention of his forthcoming autobiography in the TLS. Monday 4.4.22 R cycles to Southam to pay Sam the framer. Sweet little E mail from the Great Roberto. ‘Phone call from Dr David Price re the Rotary’s request that I might do another painting to help their worldwide polio eradication event in May. He was the person who bought the last one I did for them a few years ago Walking a Mile for Polio which they used on their poster and to get press coverage for their campaign and event. When I enquire about Roger, his fellow Rotarian and organiser of last time’s event he tells me that sadly he has died and I recall him sitting here in the kitchen telling me that when he was in the sixth for at Cheltenham College he was abroad, Greece I think, with one of his school friends when they swam across a stretch of water - possibly like Byron the Hellespont - after which his friend sadly contracted polio from which he tragically died. Tuesday 5.4.22 I’m amazed that the moulding that we ordered on Sunday evening and paid for yesterday has already arrived. By the afternoon Richard is busy sawing it into lengths to take on is bike to Sam the framers in Southam. E mail from dear Magus in reply to mine congratulating him on the birth of his second grandson and enquiring as to how he and Tiina are amidst the disastrous turmoil the world finds itself in. He says that all the families of his embassy staff have returned to Estonia apart from his beautiful brave Tiina and how much this means to him. I had written in case he might know of an organisation that helps refugees so that we might assist them in sponsoring them to get a visa and offer them a home in my studio house which has two double bedrooms upstairs as I can continue to work from my studio here in our home. He tells me that his tiny country of Estonia has taken in 27,000 refugees who will probably stay there within the community of Ukranians that already exists there. He says they have already sent their Bear and Angel painting back to Tallinn two weeks ago for safety Wednesday 6.4.22 Still working non-stop on the large painting for Panter & Hall to show at the London Art Fair. Thursday 7.4.22 ditto Friday 8.4.22 E mail from the President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge saying that they have decided to reinstate the original title of their collection to the Women’s Art Collection (it’s the largest collection of women’s art in the country) and that they are relaunching it beginning with partnering with the London Art Fair. They own my large three dimensional painting Radio Pram. Saturday 9.4.22 Still working non-stop on the large painting for Panter & Hall to show at the London Art Fair. Sunday 10.4.22 Call from Nathan who is sitting outside in the sunshine. He’s just been to a boxing session, part of his exercise programme to keep fit. In the evening I get a call from Henrietta updating me on all their week’s news. Friday 15.4.22 Henrietta, Kev, Isaac and Samuel arrive about 8.30. It’s such a joy to see them all looking well and happy. We congratulate Isaac having done so well in his mock GCSEs He comes in bearing a lovely hand tied bunch of flowers. Samuel also did well in is end of term report. Richard cooks us all a stir fry in the splendid wok Nathan had given him. Saturday 16.4.22 We sit in the sunshine in the garden whilst the boys were at the skate park and playing football. Kev asks if we’d like to go to Italy with them in the summer, which sounds like a delightful idea. We used to take them all away each year until Richard was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. R bought and cooked a turkey especially thinking we’d all be here but sadly poor Clementine tested positive for Covid. We give out all the wonderful Easter gifts that Nancy and Peter have sent, all with beautiful knitted green covers with knitted daffodils on top also some with some with origami daffodils attached, they are exquisite although the boys make short work of the contents! Sunday 17.4.22 We all enjoy brunch together and exchange Easter eggs and Easter gifts before they are off as Kev is taking Samuel to the Chelsea vs Crystal Palace semi final at Wembley this afternoon while Henrietta and Isaac will take the train for the last part of their journey. Nice e mail from Paul in Australia who has just commissioned two small paintings; he tells me he is also a keen Chelsea fan and he’s recorded the match to watch when he wakes up. It’s back to work in the studio on the large Supper Meeting painting for the London Art Fair…. Monday 18.4.22 … which work on through the day and night going to bed just before.. Tuesday 19.4.22 … Richard gets up at 7 to drive the two works to the Art Fair at the Islington Design Centre. where he meets Matthew from Panter & Hall who helps him carry it in. Wednesday 20.4.22 In the early hours hear from Homes for Refugees that we have been matched with a family from a village just outside Kyiv, two parents and their three children. Thursday 21.4.22 As well as the new “Supper Meeting” painting wearing a red spot Matthew says he has just sold “A Girdle Round The Earth” to a new collector Friday 22.4.22 We have been exchanging short messages with our Ukrainian refugee family most days. Saturday 23.4.22 The situation there continues to be heart breaking. Sunday 24.4.22 Call from Henrietta who had been assisting Isaac with one of his projects. Monday 25.4.22 Richard takes a snap of the small commission I’ve been working on for John in the USA. I’m always anxious when the commission contains likenesses so start to get worried very quickly in case they are not satisfactory. But about an hour and a half laterR calls up my studio stairs to say they love it! so great rush of relief and joy as I’ve started working on the charity painting for the Rotarians eradication of Polio fundraiser event; I think they want to use it on their poster as well as selling it to add to the amount raised. Nice call from Nathan Also a call from dear Wallace But no news from our Ukrainian refugee family today Tuesday 26.4.22 But this morning he replies to say yes they are OK but the visa application form is very difficult to fill in and of course the poor man is having to fill in five, including one for the baby. The Independent have suggested that the government have deliberately made it very difficult and a civil servant has said it is designed to fail, which makes me feel very cross as the news from Ukraine continues to be appalling with the Russian bombardment of railway stations and civilians. It’s heartbreaking to read the personal accounts of loss and suffering; you would think we could have found a more effective way of embracing refugees who must be living in terror . Nice e mail from Tiffany who said she had been chatting to a woman at the Fair who had particularly like Midweek Commuters but would have liked something larger - did I have anything in the studio? This afternoon we had a visit from Peter on behalf of Tewkesbury Borough Council, who had come to assess my studio house for safety and space for the Ukrainian family we are currently helping to apply for visas. Peter’s visit forms part of that application. He actually comes from Sheffield but is filling in for his colleague at Tewkesbury BC. He carefully measures each room filling in all the information on his form. Very nice, very efficient and very discreet. I explain to him that I will continue to work from my studio in our house so that the family of refugees will have my studio over the Lane completely to themselves. Wednesday 27.4.22 Have been working on the large newspaper painting, trying to get it to a photographable state. Receive the payments from Tiffany at Panter & Hall for the paintings sold at the London Art Fair. I have to say that they are brilliant at paying and very prompt. Thursday 28.4.22 Still working on the large n/p painting. As usual the more I do on it the more it exposes what still needs to be done. But work through the night to get it to that photographable state. Friday 29.4.22 Richard photographs the large n/p painting. I receive statement and payment from the Bridgeman for this months royalties. Interesting the payments have come via Italy (where they are reproducing Doubla and Children’s Games in educational books) and New York (The National Geographic are reproducing Latin American in their online magazine). It’s always fascinating to see who is reproducing them and where. Return to the charity painting for the Rotarians elimination of polio fundraiser. Saturday 30.4.22 We try to do something every day to make preparation for the Ukrainian refugees and today we’ve put a tray of cutlery and kitchen utensils that had been my Mum’s through the dishwasher, which makes me reminisce especially when I find an enamelled bottle opener that I think I had bought for them as a gift back from holiday in my teens.
MAY