She laughs without fear of the future.

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Hello friends

I’ve been missing again for a couple of weeks because the first weekend we had no internet and last weekend we were away from home, but I’m back again now.

The image at the top of the page is another big painting reproducing a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  The painting measures approx 30″ by 22″ and here is the original page from the journal that measures 15″ by 9″:

Strength-and-Dignity

And here is another of the Radiant Warrior masks:

Radiant Warrior Mask

After my previous post T and I went to London to see The Howard Hodgkin exhibition Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery.  It was amazing and I really enjoyed it. Here is one of the portraits we saw in the exhibition it’s a portrait of his friend Patrick Caulfield and was painted 1991-93.  It’s called Patrick in Italy measures about 26″ by 29″ and is oil on wood.

Patric in Italy

Now, you may think this is just an abstract painting, but Mr Hodgkin (if he were still alive) would tell you he never painted anything abstract in his life and this is a true portrait of his friend Patrick.  Although it may not look like him the painting accurately captures the feeling and memory of that time.  Personally I love it and it was a privilege to see so many (I think there were 52) portraits in the exhibition.

Last weekend we had a proper heat wave in the UK and we were lucky to be invited to go and stay with T’s brother and family in Gloucestershire.  On Saturday we went to a small festival in the village where they live, it was organised to raise funds for the local school. It was a great day with some good bands and a lovely atmosphere, the headline act were called Mr Tea and the Minions  from Bristol.  They play ‘Cheeky gypsy party music’ that’s a cross between – Balkan/Ska/Swing/Dub/Funk – happy smiley people who got us on our feet and jiggling about 🙂

On Monday before we came home we drove into Bristol to see an exhibition by one of my favourite artists – David Shillinglaw – the show is entitled Tales of Ordinary Madness –  at That Art Gallery I was very lucky because the gallery is normally closed on Mondays but they opened it especially so I could see the exhibition before I came home.

Here is a little video the gallery made to promote the show.

I bought a unique colourful print made up of faces like these.

 

That’s all for now folks, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fire Within Me

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Hello friends

I hope all is good with you.  Last night we had another terrorist attack in London and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible event. Three attackers killed seven people and injured 48 others.  The attackers who were wearing fake suicide belts were shot and killed by eight police officers who fired 50 shots.  The whole event from the first call about people being run down on London Bridge to the last attacker being shot at Borough Market took eight minutes.  Congratulations and thanks to those first responders who risked their lives and took decisive action to protect others.

There are no words really, how do you try to understand and explain or comprehend these acts of terror?  I’m sorry but I have no idea.

What I do know is that I personally will not give in to them, they will not have my hate and I will not live in fear.

T and I had already planned to visit London tomorrow to see the Howard Hodgkin exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and we are still going to do that.  I don’t want to sit at home being scared, I want to live my life and I know that I have to see Howard Hodgkin’s paintings I’m looking forward to it.

The image above is a big painting 22″ x 30″ reproducing the cover of my Warrior Women art journal and here is the original cover which measures 7″ x 9″.

Sky-above-me

And here is another Radiant Warrior from my mask project:

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My post is short and sweet this week as I’ve other things I need to be doing right now.

Look after yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big Love

AJ xxx

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

Art from Malaga and me

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Hello Friends

Continuing with the theme of Radiant Warriors here is another ‘mask’ I made using the radiotherapy mask I had to wear during treatment.

This week I had my 62nd Birthday and although it’s not a very attractive number it was still a cause to celebrate being alive and well.  It was a glorious sunny day and I had taken the day off work so we went out for a drive.  We stopped off at a couple of beaches for walks, lunch and ice-cream.  In the evening T took me out for a meal at a local restaurant.  It was a good day 🙂

We thought about going camping for the rest of the weekend but the weather changed, got cooler and rained, and I’m only a fairweather camper, so we stayed at home.

I’ve really been missing all that art and culture we saw when we were on holiday in Malaga at the beginning of May.

One day we went to the Centre for Contemporary Art, Malaga It’s an amazing space.  The temporary exhibitions we saw there were:

Jia Aili A Chinese artist who paints huge, futuristic and somewhat desolate paintings.  T really appreciated this art but for me, although I could appreciate the skill involved, they were too depressing and bleak.

Image source https://www.chinesenewart.com/chinese-artists11/jiaaili.htm

There was an exhibition of Studio Film Club posters byScottish artist Peter Doig, which I absolutely loved, so bright and colourful and fun.  And it seems that Peter has very similar taste in films as T and me.

Image source https://biblioklept.org/2013/08/11/peter-doigs-studio-film-club-posters/ where you can see more of the posters.

You can find out more about Peter here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Doig

There was a moving exhibition by the American artist Travis Somerville

You can find out more about Travis Someville’s art here: http://www.travissomerville.com/

As well as the temporary exhibitions there is a lot of excellent art in the permanent collection.  We had a great time inside this fantastic building.

Here is the bendy man sculpture at the entrance to CAC Malaga.  I took this photograph, I didn’t realise it was OK to take photos inside the Centre so the those images are not mine (I have mentioned the sources where I was not the photographer):

014 Bendy man sculpture outside the Centre for Contempoary Art

The area of Malaga where the Centre for Contemporary Art is located is called Soho, it’s an up and coming area and there is just load and loads of fantastic street art there.

Here is another of my large paintings (30″ x 22″) reproducing pages from my Warrior Women art journal:

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And here is the original page it measures 15″ by 9″:

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I don’t normally like listening to ‘experts’ explaining about art, mainly because I rarely understand what they are talking about it all sounds like gobbledegook to me, but I saw this video yesterday about an exhibition by Howard Hodgkin at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Howard Hodgkin died in March of this year. I first discovered him when I bought a book of his paintings in a local charity shop and a bit later I saw one of his original paintings at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.  I love his use of colour, but now I’ve found out a little bit more about him I realise what a fascinating and talented man he was.  I love the way that Paul Moorhouse takes us through this exhibition of portraits and I understand completely what he talks about.  We are planning on visiting this exhibition before it closes on 18 June:

That’s all for now folks, see you soon

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Where have I been?

Hello friends, it’s been a while again!  I hope your year is going well.  I am doing well health wise.  I’ve been working on two big projects this year and both are now nearing completion so maybe now I’ll be able to get back into blogging again.  We’ll see, my track record so far has not been too good has it?

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When I finished my cancer treatment back in 2015 I was given the mask I had to wear when I was having radiotherapy:

The face maskI wanted to do something creative with it, but I had lots of ideas  and I didn’t want to do just one thing, so in the end I used the mask as a form to create a series of papier mache ‘warrior masks’. Each one fixed onto a canvas.

All the time in my head I had the title ‘Radiant Warriors’.  I felt it complimented the journal of Warrior Women I made when I was having chemotherapy.

Definition of Radiant: adjective 1. happy, glowing, ecstatic, joyfulgay, delighted, beaming, joyous, blissful, rapturous

2. bright, brilliant, shining, glorious, beaming, glowing, sparkling, sunny, glittering, gleaming, luminous, resplendent, incandescent, lustrous, effulgent

The image at the top of the page is the first mask I made.  I can’t begin to tell you just how disappointed I was with how it turned out, which is nothing like I imagined it would.  I’ve made 11 masks so far and none of them have turned out how I planned.  It stressed me out a fair bit that I couldn’t reproduce the images I had  in my head, but in the end I realised the masks turn out exactly as they are meant to be – full of imperfections and faults, just like me.  To be a warrior means you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying.

As well as mask making I also wanted to see what my journal pages would look like if I reproduced them big.  Ideally I would like to see them massive like on a wall on the side of a building, but as I don’t have a wall 30″ x 22″size paper was the biggest I could go:

This is the first page I did in my Warrior Women Journal when I was first diagnosed with cancer. It’s made of collage, painting and penwork, it measures 15″ by 9″.

All is Good

And here is the large size painting it measures 30″ by 22″:

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Now that I’ve finished the Radiant Warrior project I feel like I can move on from the Cancer thing. It’s such a relief.  Not everyone makes it though do they?  Earlier this month a very brave young woman who put up a couragous, positive and inspiring fight lost her battle with cancer.  It really hurts when this happens.

Rest in Peace beautiful Sam xxx

The other project I’ve been working on is the garden project I started back in November, to build some raised beds for T’s vegetable garden.  This is what it looked like before I started. Just look at all those weeds on the paths!!!

And here is a video of the finished raised beds.

In other news we had a holiday in Malaga city in Spain at the beginning of May, it’s a lovely place and we soaked up loads of art and culture.  I might blog about that later.

That’s all for now, I hope you are all doing well and are happy and I hope to see you again soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Merry Christmas!

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Hello Friends!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

I’ve been caught up with preparations for the Festivities and (as usual) had little time for anything else!  But I made it and here we are on Christmas morning and everything is ready so let the fun begin!

T has just woken up so shortly we will be opening presents and then starting preparations for lunch.  Mum and Dad are coming here for lunch today so that will be fun!

The image above is a sock reindeer I made last week, it’s a strange looking creature but I just couldn’t resist it when I saw the kit in a shop.

Anyway I’m still trying (not very successfully) to get back into regular  blogging and will continue with that attempt in the New Year, we’ll just have to see how it goes 🙂

Have a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

BIG LOVE

AJ xxx

 

Mindfulness

MindfulnessHello friends

I hope all is good with you in these challenging times for all of us. Sometimes it feels to me like the whole world is going mad, there is a monumental shift taking place and I feel so out of synch with it all.

I can’t change the results of the referendum or the US election, or the way other people think, and I understand that our political systems have failed and disenfranchised so many, but this shift to isolationism and xenophobia is really worrying me.

So I keep reminding myself of that quote by Mahatma GhandiBe the change that you wish to see in the world.’  I know I have to be the very best version of myself that I can be.  I try every day to be a good, caring and thoughtful person.  I’ll be honest with you admit that most days I fail miserably, there is usually some point in the day when I get angry or upset about something or someone I don’t agree with, but every day I start again and try to improve.  I don’t know if I will ever be the person I truly want to be and I realise if I can’t even do that for myself how can I expect the rest of the world to be the caring, compasionate, inclusive world I want it to be.  Just got to keep trying…..

Practising mindfulness is helping and I am getting some clarity and calmness from it.

The image above is the back page of my 6″ by 9″ journal and it is to remind me to be mindful.

Back cover before and after

When I was 18 years old in 1973 T and I set off to travel overland to India, our first stop was Amsterdam where we spent a few days waiting for the Magic Bus  to leave.  The bus was actually going all the way to India but we only took it as far as Istanbul, and travelled the rest of the way on public transport.

While we were in Amsterdam, killing time, we were wandering about the city one evening and we came across the Stedelijk Museum of contemporary and modern art.  It was a cold and miserable October evening and it was dry and warm in the museum so we went inside.  There was hardly anyone else there and we had a great time looking at the amazing art.  There was an exhibition of machines made by the artist Jean Tinguely.  These machines were fantastic and playful, I had never seen anything like it before in my life.

The Stedelijk Museum currently (until 5 March 2017) has another exhibition by Jean Tinguely called Machine Spectacle.  If you happen to be in Amsterdam before 5 March I recommend you visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed:

Take care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big LOVE

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Life as Play

Life as Play

Hello friends

It’s been pouring with rain most of the day today so I’ve been in my room painting, I’m very close to being half way through my big personal project. (So still several months to go before completion)!

Last weekend the weather was much better and I spent it out in the garden on a different kind of creative project.  I built this raised bed in an attempt to make growing vegetables a bit easier for T, as he’s struggling at the moment.  I’ve got two more to build.  Now that I know how to do it the next ones should be easier.

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I’m also trying to eliminate the weeds from the paths by killing them then covering the area with cardboard, membrane and gravel. I bought some preserver to paint the wood too, but ran out of time last weekend and the weather is not good enough this weekend.

The image at the top is another page from my small 6″ x 9″ journal, I finished this page off on Monday when I had to go for my check up at Southampton hospital.  It’s a good job I took something to do as they were running an hour late by mid-day when I was supposed to see the doctor and I’d already been there for a couple of hours as I have to have a blood test at least an hour before my appointment.  Anyway I saw a nice young doctor and all is good and I’m still in remission 19 months after treatment finished.  🙂

To celebrate here is a lovely video by Thomas Blanchard I found on the internet this week, it’s mesmerising and I could watch it over and over.  In fact I have watched it over and over again.  If you enjoy it as much as I do perhaps you could leave a comment for Thomas? :-).

 

 

When I posted this I could see the video, but now I can’t? Just in case you can’t see it either just click on the link for Thomas Blanchard and the video is called Kingdom of Colours.

I hope all is good with you, I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A new approach

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Hello friends

I have been trying to figure out why I’ve been so reticent to blog this year and I’ve decided to try a different approach and see if that gets me restarted and remotivated.

From now on there will be much less personal stuff and I’ll concentrate on my favourite subject – visual art.  Afterall that’s what it was supposed to be about in the beginning.  Mainly to document my art and see if I ever made any progress (the jury’s still out on that one).

I’ll be posting my own art and some of my photographs and I’ll be sharing some of the amazing art I see online, but that’s it folks.

So if you are not interested in art and only visit my blog to see what goes on in my personal life (I really can’t imagine why anyone would find that interesting) you’ll be disappointed.  But hey that’s life 🙂

This image is from my small journal and was completed in June this year. I like it because it’s bright and cheerful and has a good message.

And here is a video of one of my favourite artists:

I met David in May 2015 at a workshop he did at Morgan in Clerkenwell (Link) shortly after that he flew out to Turkey and painted this beautiful mural. Film by Babylon TV

 

I hope you are keeping well and making lots of lovely art.

See ya soon (maybe)

Big love

AJ

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Just keep movin’ don’t stop

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Hello friends

Gosh a lot has happened since my last post.

The day after we spent the whole day travelling up to Yorkshire to meet up with T’s family.  We left home before 10am and arrived at the hotel in Bingley at about 6:30 pm.  T doesn’t drive so I drove all the way with just a few comfort stops.  Unfortunately this trip back to the place of T’s birth was bittersweet as we were attending the funeral of T’s brother-in-law.  We had both known Pete for 46 years.

Pete was a big bear of a man, he married T’s sister who is about the same age as me when she was 16 years old.  Pete was in the army so they moved about and lived in Cypress, Southern England, Northern Ireland and Canada (and probably other places I can’t remember) while they were young and bringing up their three children.  We saw more of them after Pete left the army and they moved to northern England, we saw them at weddings, family gatherings and when they visited T’s mum when she was still alive.  I liked Pete a lot, he always looked very gruff but he was a sweet man, when he hugged you you knew you had been hugged.  We were very sorry to have to say goodbye to him last week.

It was an opportunity to see the rest of the family though and I have to say I really like T’s extended family they are diverse but all really lovely people.

When T and I visited Yorkshire 4 years ago, to celebrate his 60th, we made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to find the 5 rise locks at Bingley.  It’s a tourist attraction but somehow we failed to find it.  After the funeral we went back to the hotel and T went for an afternoon nap so I followed the instructions given to me by T’s younger brother and set off on my own on foot to try and locate the famous locks.  This time I was successful. I found the canal and arrived at the top of the locks.  I took this photo looking back after I had walked down the hill

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The locks are a feature on the Liverpool to Leeds canal and are the steepest staircase locks on the longest canal in the country.  Built in 1774 the locks allow barges and canal boats travelling along the canal to rise (or fall) 60 feet.  It’s an amazing feat of engineering.

I carried on walking and a little further on there is a set of 3 rise locks, with a rise/drop of 30 feet.  Built at the same time as the 5 rise locks.

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At the bottom of the 3 rise locks is the Damart building and its distinctive chimney is easily seen from Bingley town centre.

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That evening T and I went and had a fish and chip supper with T’s sister as we had to set off early the next morning for the long trip back home.  It was good for just the three of us to sit and have a quiet chat.  I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose your partner after a life time together. 😦

The drive back was not too bad, but still took a long time. I went to bed at about 8pm and slept straight through until the next morning when I was back  at work. It took me a few days to get over that marathon drive.

I have noticed that I get tired more easily now, apparently it’s common for someone who has had chemotherapy to feel tired a lot of the time. When I’m not tired I feel good so it’s just a case of pacing myself better.

Last weekend on Saturday I did some shopping (which is probably my least favourite thing to do) and I also spent some time with my friends from the local history group at an open day event they we  re having in the cemetery.  On Sunday T and I went for a walk along a beach (that’s probably my favourite thing to do) as it was a sunny but breezy day.  T did quite well considering how painful it is for him to walk any distance these days.

Sea and Sky Sept 2016I don’t like to walk too close to the cliffs as sometimes big chunks fall off!  Actually sometimes cows fall off the cliffs too and I don’t fancy being hit by a large piece of rock or a cow! I was curious about the piece of an old building hanging off the top of this cliff, one day, no doubt, that too will end up on the beach.

Orange CliffI have had a good week at work I’m slowly reaching some resolutions to some of the problems I’m dealing with.  The good thing is that I’m not letting the slowness or difficulty stress me out.  It’s taken me 61 years but I think I’ve finally learnt that there is no point in worrying about things that are beyond my control, I just need to do the best I can and be satisfied with that.  I do however wish that I had more time to be creative…

This weekend T and I went shopping together on Saturday morning (deep joy [not!!!]) and then I spent the afternoon with friends from the local history group again.  Today (Sunday) it’s been a lovely autumn day, this morning I helped T clean the decking so that it can be oiled to give it some protection before the winter sets in.  It took us a few hours and it was a horrible job, still it’s done now.

This afternoon I went for a walk along the beach and Duver at St Helens, it was such a beautiful day and the light was amazing. I forgot to take the camera so you’ll just have to take my word about that.  Then I visited Mum and Dad who are OK but seem to be getting much frailer these days, I suppose it’s to be expected as Mum is 84 and Dad is 94.  Their bodies are frail but their minds are still pretty sharp though.  We started discussing plans for Xmas!  Personally I think it’s far to early to start thinking about that, but Mum likes to know what’s happening well in advance of the event, so we are working on a plan 🙂

Other news in brief:

  • *T won his appeal against the DWP to get ESA payments (hurray),
  • *my bongo passed it’s MOT (hurray),
  • *I stopped getting emails on 23 September and when I enquired with my ISP what was happening I was told they had sent me an email giving me 30 days notice that they would no longer provide an email service and I would have to make alternative arrangements and now the 30 days was up so no more emails!  (I don’t remember getting that email)  It’s taking a while to sort this out, but eventually I should be able to continue using the same email address, but I’m thinking of transferring to a different ISP.  They were fantastic when I first signed up with them over 20 years ago but over time the service has deteriorated and the email saga is the final straw! (Grrrrrrr!!!)
  • Yet again I have had no time for being creative this weekend (Grrrrrrr!!!)
  • I’m still practicing mindfulness so that’s OK (hurray).

The image at the top of this post is another page from my small (6″ x 9″) journal  and here is the before and after penwork image:

Keep movin' don't stop before and after penwork

Hope all is good with you.

Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxxxxx

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Dance with your Heart

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Hello friends

Hope things are good with you, I am absolutely fine.  I still can’t find enough time to do all the things I want to do, but I’m not stressing about it.  If things don’t get done it’s not the end of the world.

I have been quite creative recently and that’s always a good sign.  I am slowly working on my ‘secret big project’, I reckon at this rate it’s going to take another 18 months to 2 years to complete.  That’s as long as I keep at it, but to be honest I do have a history of starting things and never finishing them so we’ll just have to wait and see if I can keep at this one.  It doesn’t really matter though because I learn as I go along so all is good.  At some point in the future I might have to share it with you just to check if it’s worth continuing with.

I was going to share another black & white page from my Tikis and Totems journal today, but I just couldn’t have two b&w posts in a row, so the above page is another from my small (6″ by 9″) journal and the page was completed several months ago.

I am really curious to know why colour is so important to me, most creative people I know are really into music I think most people who are creative listen to music when they create.  While I don’t dislike music, (afterall you need music to be able to dance), left to my own devices I would never think to listen to music.  To be honest if I never heard any music I don’t think I would be too bothered.  But colour, now that’s a different story – if I can’t feast my eyes on beautiful colourful images every day, then things get a bit weird and I suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

I did wonder recently how I would cope if I ever lost my sight.  Initially it seemed that would be the worst thing that could  happen to me, but then I realised that the eyes are just the windows that let the light in and I have an amazing imagination so even if my eyes didn’t work I am pretty sure my brain would adjust and I would just ‘see’ things in a differnt way.  Don’t worry there isn’t anything wrong with my sight, other than I now need glasses for reading.  It was just one of those random thoughts that come out of nowhere, but I was reassured by the ‘solution’ my brain came up with.

Here is the before and after image:

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When I was younger I loved dancing but I’m a bit rusty now and I have nowhere near the energy I had even 10 years ago.  Still Hoopfit class starts up again next week, that’s fun and good exercise so I’m looking forward to it.  Got to admit I’m not much good at hooping though, I spend a lot of time bending down to pick the hoop up! But the teacher is lovely, it’s definitely a giggle and it’s always easier to exercise when it’s fun.

Hope life is treating you well, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.