Monday, 4 March 2013

In Honour of Support

Hello everyone, sorry it’s been so long since I last posted. Unfortunately, it is an impossibly sad situation that has kept me away from my computer. After over a year, a dear friend of mine, Paul, lost his younger brother to a brave and valiant battle with a rare form of cancer. Jack was only nineteen years old when he passed away.

I watched Paul and his partner Marie as they did everything in their power to be supportive and caring to Jack and the whole family since his diagnosis. Paul and I became friends after I left college and so I never got to know Jack personally, the memories I have of him are all through the loving eyes of his older brother.

Witnessing the mass support the family received throughout the last difficult days of Jacks life and of course, to help the family celebrate the life of their youngest member was truly moving.

It got me thinking about support and the power of involvement. I talked briefly before about my own parent’s support of me as a young and tentative artist. They really did make sure that none of the talent I had was gone to waste. They used what abilities they had to spare, to bring me to extra art classes on Saturday mornings and encouraged me to be creative in many aspects of my life. I have witnessed first hand the opposite in some of my artist friends and it is incredibly difficult to overcome the obstacles of an artistic career (of which there are many) without the support from the people around you. To constantly have to justify or qualify your choice can be exhaustive and draining of the creative juices which are necessary to making art work.

I have received so much support over the years in many many different ways. My mother used to sit up with me at three o’clock in the morning while I tried to complete the fifteen samples I needed for the next days project deadline in college. My dad encouraged me to get involved in community art projects to help with my teaching skills and to help share my work with more people. My sister, Grainne, shares my work with anyone who will look and has accompanied me to markets for moral support. My brother, Jamie, has gotten me tables at Christmas craft fairs and encouraged me to start this blog. My friends have come to markets on Sunday mornings just so that I would see a friendly face during the day and listened for hours about the next idea I have had for a project. Gary has unending jobs in helping me get my work out into the world and he does most of it without complaint or argument (if he does complain it is probably because he is hungry and we have neglected to arrange regular and filling vitals while working). My extended families never stop singing my praises and showing genuine interest in my progress.

So I would like to express my gratitude for all the wonderful abundance of good will, kind intentions and meaningful actions I have received. Many people have been incredibly frustrated with the slowly slowly approach I have taken in my art career. Thanks for hanging in there and supporting me to go at my own pace (even if you didn’t agree).

If you are a fellow artist and you are reading this and thinking to yourself “Of course she can make art, look at all the support she has”. You are absolutely right. If you are not as fortunate as me then I salute you and your courageous efforts to keep creating under very hard circumstances. Art, beauty and creativity can lose much of its value in the harsh economic conditions of recession. Making a buck becomes so important because, unfortunately, you can’t eat paint. Seeking support from even one person may be helpful to keep the dream alive of being a professional artist. I know it has kept me going through tough times.

As I finish today, I just want to honour the very special support my friend Paul gave to his brother Jack. I have told him myself that I watched him with awe and respect at how he conducted himself through this heart-breaking time in his life. He was and is brave, strong, loving, funny and kind. I truly feel that Jack and Paul couldn’t have been better brothers to each other. Paul wrote a beautiful eulogy for his brother and with his sister, Sarah, delivered it with poise and grace to the whole congregation on the day of Jacks funeral. The courage of their expression is the inspiration for this post.

In Loving Memory of

Jack Dalton

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