Monday, March 17, 2014

Going out, artist's house and still cheerful.

1. Bettany sighs and rolls over. I roll over in the opposite direction, put on my shoes and adjust Alec's cover. Then I hurry downstairs, past Nick sleeping on the sofa and out of the front door into a bright afternoon.

2. The excellent Anna has organised an excursion for interested parties to the home gallery of artist Renate Keeping. She is the wife of illustrator Charles Keeping, whose work I must know from my childhood (but none of the editions laid out rang any bells with me). For me personally, Renate's soft sculpture work was the most fascinating thing. She has devoted an entire room to her autobiography, a freize that goes round and round a room on different levels, a stitched account using rubbish as as a template. I loved the way nearly every member of the group found something to identify with. I drew a sharp breath when I read about Renate striking items off her shopping list for fear that Strontium-9 might get into her children's food.

2b. Afterwards in the car going home I mentioned another thing that scares me into rigid silence, something I thought was just me, and one of the others blithely added her own story and said it was not uncommon. I am so grateful that the artist helped open my mouth.

3. Bettany is still cheerful, despite her spots. She has fared much worse than Alec -- the blisters are jostling for space now, crowding each other so they are almost stacked. But she is smiling and practising the exercises to strengthen her standing muscles.