11.51am (in the studio at my desk)

I am trying to write. The studio is busy with students so trying to drown out the noise of polite talk with some music. Benjamin Clementine again. I will tire of his music if I end up over playing it, but with most things in my life I get a fascination with something then move onto the next. I will get sick of it. I love it so much.

Not a good morning. I feel so insecure about everything, it causes me great anxiety. The children are the greatest thing that I have in my life but its all about holding on and letting go. They will grow up and leave home. They will grow up and leave home and the challenges for them to do well in the world will become greater. I do not want them to suffer. I want them to be independent and resilient and confident and happy.

Syd told me to fuck off when I asked that he practice the work that his guitar teacher set. I am hitting my head against a brick wall with him. I want him to do well, I want to be encouraging and supportive but it hurts when you are told to fuck off by your own son. I am sure it is very common for teenagers to tell their parents where to stick it, but its still a shock.

I will try a new strategy. Ask him what help he needs. He wants to teach himself guitar. He tells me that lots of musicians in bands that are successful never had guitar lessons. I try to explain that some lessons are good as well then he would be able to acquire the skills that he needs to work as a session musician if he needs too. I am trying to make life easier for him. He resents my help. He says he has no time to practice. He is in year ten so maybe the school work is starting to get on top of him. Who knows. Who knows what is really going on. Who knows what is for the best. Maybe he has the answers. It is him that needs to take responsibility. I cannot always be there to polish his shoes and pack his sandwiches.

I need to read that book How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk. I need to suggest to P that he reads the book too. I need a tool kit of strategies to implement. I need parenting tools. I need to invest time and love and energy in my parenting. I can never keep up with them. There is always a something to have to try and sort. All this emotional work. It takes time. Time and patience and I don’t always feel patient. I want to scream. I want to scream back FUCK YOU too. But I try and stop and pause and breath and think. I am not shouting at him, I am shouting at the mess I have got myself into. The corner.

We keep making the mistake of shedding our anxieties upon him. Why shatter the dream. We need to encourage him. We need to shower him with love and support. I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope, that he gets to do what he wants in life, but I worry and worry and worry.

We manage to resolve the situation before S heads off for school. There are more angry outbursts and tears. I can see now that both myself and P were insensitive. It is hard to stay calm and level headed when a teen pushes the boundaries. I find it hard to swallow especially when money is involved. Especially when money is too tight to mention.


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I am sad that I cannot be at the launch of the Project Procreate event in London. I was invited to speak on the panel. I would have loved to have been able too. Its so exciting to see another initiative supporting the practice of artists/parents rising to the fore, but it makes me sad that I am unable to participate, or support others practice. It is mainly down to lack of finances.

I am sick of feeling outside of the adult world and outside of  the art world. I must remember that there are so many people like myself. I am lucky to have a studio. I am fortunate to have the time to think, reflect, make, to be able to articulate my feelings. To think how an emotions can feed arts practice. I am lucky to be sitting here writing this, I just get frustrated that I cannot progress, develop, I guess the crux of the situation is that unless an opportunity is paid it does make things difficult, especially if there is a geographical distance to cover.

I need to think of creative solutions around my problems. I need to research Skype. Skype conferencing. Through Skype its possible to be present anywhere in the world. I need to think about how to bring the world to me and my art and how to get my art and me out into the world. To have communication with anyone, anywhere. To hang my work on galleries elsewhere. OUTSIDE. Artists who are parents who have little money who have little time who have little energy find it hard to be PHYSICALLY PRESENT. Artists who are parents tend to live a localised existence. I draw a circle between me and the studio and my home and the school. My circle used to be far wider. My circle used to include two cities and my home and my studio and the school. Local really is ok, but I need to be able to get out. Get out of the Calder Valley. The hills are suffocating me and my practice and my sense of self. Stumble trip, Stumble trip. 

What is a local artist?

What is a national artist?

What is an international artist?

Is there a hierarchy between the three? I think so. Local is seen as small. Small minded? Local is seen as nice and landscape and still life. Local is seen as what can be sold in local galleries. I do not fit local. I do not fit commercial. I do not fit local audience. I fit edgy and challenging and asking questions. I am contemporary.

Local is seen as having less importance than international. The wider the wings are spread the more the art is validated. Art exists between cultures and societies. Art is a universal language. Art needs to be seen to exist.

I think that it is sad that local is seen as less than international. Perhaps parents who are artists are only able to be local, so what if local is landscape, and nice, what do you do then? What if you are not able to afford the fee for the competition or the money to print out work. Do you give up or find a way around the problem. Make work that is digital that does not involve buying materials. Work with found materials.

I have been working drawing on pieces of household paint colour sample paper. Its a great free resource. I look at the small drawings and wish that they were big bold oil paintings on canvas. Perhaps I need to tack some canvas to the wall of the studio and just start. Start painting. I have paint, canvas but no stretchers. You can stretch after painting . I must find a way around all these boundaries and obstacles. I can still make. I can. I will.

I draw, I make, I paint, I photograph, I write, I am. 


My elderly friend rang. He is unwell. There is another list of shopping to get. Care work has to take priority. Care for those we love. I now am trying to work out how I can get to go for a wellbeing walk and get to the supermarket before collecting Naoise from school. This one simple task has thrown my day out. I can’t be dragging N around the supermarket. I hate taking small children to the shops. Children hate shops too, especially when parents have to say no no no no no no no.


N went to school ok. We were super late. Even the lolly pop man had gone home. Its ok though, the benefits of being unemployed are that if we are late it does not really matter too much. I was pleased that I did not get stressed with N when he was slow, slow, slow. I had had one conflict this morning and I really did not need any more. There are only so many battles a mother can fight with her sons. I wish this parenting was less of a battle and more of a slow mindful stroll to school.

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