Cousins, funerals and lovely words

Cousins, funerals and lovely words

I’ve been to a lot of funerals, and since I have a large extended family I suppose its part of the  family dutiful tradition that we get together for them if  any of us can. Since my Mum died more than five years ago there have been three other funerals of her generation, the latest one being last week and for her sister-in-law.

When I knew that the funeral was imminent, I wondered which of my cousins would be there and knew that at least two of them would be, but after that I wasn’t quite sure who would be able to make it. I arrived  early to make sure I was in good time, and found I was the first to arrive which gave me time to reflect at the past funerals I had been to at that crematorium. A couple of minutes later the door opened and in walked two of my female cousins with their husbands, we kissed cheeks in greeting and caught up with each others news and five minutes later the cousin who lives the furthest away appeared, to my delight. He comes to all the funerals and he and I hugged with a big smile and we were joined by two more male cousins one with his wife, and one on his own. Its funny that we don’t see each other much, other than funerals, but having that family connection of roots and the past keeps us together as a group.

Then it was time to pause the conversation and stand with respect as the coffin arrived and the accompanying immediate family as we went through into the chapel and went through the service, listened to the eulogy for my aunt about the high lights of her long life and the last few months when her health declined.

In reflective mood we filed out, the people who had gathered for this last goodbye, thanking the vicar for his words and then making plans for the next part at a favourite hostelry for food and a chat over a drink or two. And of course I wanted to go and join them for the get-together. We might all be there for a sad reason, but my aunt had had a good long life, and as I always say there is more love at a funeral than a wedding, and the affection I feel for my cousins meant I wanted to spend some time with them catching up on news and being in their company.

After we’d eaten the delicious buffet, it all got a bit more relaxed and in a lull in the conversation, I asked if I might be introduced to the daughter of my cousin. I hadn’t yet met her, due to the usual difficult logistics of getting all the family together at any one time. She and I half hugged in greeting, and smiled at each other as we chatted and got to know each other. And talked about art. We talked a lot about art. Since we are both professional artists and were on equal terms regarding that subject. I am older than her by many years and she has been accepted by a large gallery and is established there. I can fully understand why, since her work is of a very high standard, is well thought out, and appeals to a lot of people. And even though I had not spoken to her before, we had a large shared knowledge of our art.

What the conversation reminded me of was the rapport between people who are connected. In communication about family, or art, I feel an ease in the conversation. There may be other things going on in our lives, we might have things that have to be dealt with that are stressful or challenging. But the conversation between family, and between artists is natural for me. I suppose when we feel a connection we feel more empathy for the subject matter, and the person we are communicating with.The way through the woods

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

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