Thank you so much to everyone who has sent me wonderfully kind messages for the loss of Bailey, my wonderful Bearded Collie which has come as a huge shock.He had been looking so well and recently acting more like a puppy than his thirteen and a half years, so we were not expecting such a devastating experience. We miss him terribly which is only natural for a well loved fur family member. Ever since this dog came into my life he has been a huge part of it and I must admit he wasn't always the easiest of pups to deal with. To his dying day the word " Come" meant nothing at all. Even if you had a treat in your hand. Bailey was stubborn, determined but still so very wonderful. And extremely comical. His loss has hit me hard but I am slowly coming to terms with what happened and how it happened. Which now I know was best for Bailey. He didn't suffer at all and any loving pet owner would want that for their pet.
But where did losing him leave me?
Obviously not in a happy place. But surprisingly my own words have helped me so much, taken from my latest book " Paint Yourself Calm". Little did I know that when I wrote this book I would be needing it so very badly myself this year. It has been a comfort in so many ways. As has every single kind word from friends all over the world who have been so very kind to me. Understanding what I was going through and still am. But today I feel I am getting better. Gradually.
I have been looking out of my studio window. Even coming here has been difficult as Bailey always lay by my side inside my painting haven, or outside near by. It is so hard not to have my art critic around. He also timed my painting sessions. He would be as good as gold for an hour or so but after that I would get a nudge suggesting I went inside for coffee for me which meant a treat for him. The longest he would leave me without a nudge was two hours. After that I would simply have to walk around the garden with him which often gave me thinking time on the work I was in the middle of creating. We don't know what we have until it is gone for sure. I did value the time with my four legged buddy so much. And he taught me quite a lot too.
Through owning my four legged art companion I often stopped and admired nature. But so often looking down not up. Seeing plants and wildlife. Now I am looking at the heavens. The skies this week in UK have been grey matching my mood completely. I decided if my heart felt full of tears I would paint that feeling. The first sky below is a soft gentle wash. It forms clouds sweeping the sky as if brushing the tears aside.
As fast as I painted the sky above the pattern of the clouds changed. The sky darkened and the cloud formation became one of long straight lines almost. No hard edges of white. Just grey skies with whispers of white space appearing. As seen in the sky wash below.
Sky Wash 2.
To be honest. Sitting watching clouds and painting them was calming. I became engrossed in what was happening in front of my eyes and it was the perfect distraction that I needed. And so I painted several skies, observing the real thing and bringing what I saw into each new wash. I was looking in one direction. My daily dog walking route.
At the end of each painting day I always walked Bailey in the field and up the hill behind my cottage. Together, whatever the weather we climbed that small hill to the top. It was good for both of us. I can see the top of the hill clearly from where I paint. And I added our favourite tree to my first sky wash. As seen in the image below.
At the end of the day I'd walk with you
And you would walk with me
We'd climb the hill and look around
Enjoying all that we could see
The ancient tree, a burial ground
Birds flying overhead
Peaceful silence, nature at its' best
And now the day I dread.
No more walks with you beside me
Bounding at my heels
I was not prepared for the tearing pain
Of sudden loss and how it feels
But you my friend can race above
You're free to sniff at will
I will miss you dearest pup
Each time I walk "your" hill.
I miss my beautiful Bailey but I am so grateful for all the years of laughter and love brought into our family by this four legged comedian.
Again, thank you so very much for all the love, support, kindness and really amazing friendship I have felt this week. I am really grateful. He may have been to a non pet owner " just a dog", but to many he was far more than that.
He was love , loved and and loving