Friday, January 13, 2017

Tribute


Beloved
It all started in upheaval.
We had moved from American suburbia to Mayo Middle-of-Nowhere, leaving our Shadow behind. In those first four weeks I pined, dragged my fingers along the dog food packets in the shops and down the PETS section of the paper. Finally finding a litter of English Setters
Perfect.
Black and White, easy to spot in the green fields, in the purple and golden heather from a distance. Gorgeous temperament…like the best human on the plant multiplied by a thousand. Better, even.
You were the only one out of your siblings interested in me, peeping above the little gate into the pumphouse, to reach up to me. Clamoring all over me, once you were released. Your baby blue eyes. That one big black spot on your back. Pure white all over. To say it was love at first sight…well we chose each other.

You slept like a newborn, and were frightened of mirrors. You followed me like a shadow. On the beach, you were so light, you didn’t leave a trace. A fairy dog. I carried you when you grew tired.

As an adolescent, you were full of energy, gliding through the fields, soaring over stone walls like a deer, running along the top like a cat. You were never interested in chasing animals bigger than you, hot on the pursuit of some long gone pheasant, you would breeze past sheep and cows, invisible.



You brought me to many pheasants, without any training. Pure instinct. Running wildly, in an almost forensic grid, following the scent, stopping on a dime, the end of your fan tail twitching, the signal that yes, you had found something. Before pointing, then creeping like a cheetah closer to the bird. A large glowing bronze pheasant would fly up at the last second when you were nearly standing on their tail. But you never did catch one. That didn’t deter you from bounding along after them, across river and field.
Boy, you could run.

We’re very lucky we had you as long as we did. When you were about two, we went for a walk and another dog came running out of their house, aiming itself at me and mum. You ran up to it, protecting us, making yourself as big as possible. But he still had about 2 stone on you, and he dislocated your esophagus. We were so lucky you didn’t just die on the spot. But you weren’t ready.
You held on.

My most formative years are intricately woven with your life. It’s no secret that the first 3 years here were…tough.  Coming home to you, and having you to care about and for, is the only thing that kept me alive. Without you, I wouldn’t be here. You saved me, because you loved me.

I went to boarding school for two years, and then college. My homesickness was, largely, you-sickness. So much so, that my third year project, was largely inspired by you. When I came home to you, when you were young, you would climb up onto my lap, all legs and bones and bulk. As you got older that translated into pressing the top of your head into my leg, or chest or head. You gave hugs. You gave the very best hugs.



You and Gwyn were inseparable. You followed her around like a henpecked husband. Even when she went ‘visiting’ you would be tagging along behind her, probably telling her to “come back, we’re not supposed to leave the house without the family, Oh, I’ll go with you so, but your taking the blame! We are going to be in soooooo much trouble”
You never went far, sometimes to nanny’s, and when I’d pull up in the car, you’d both jump sheepishly in, knowing that it was very very naughty…but at least you were both together. And you loved going in the car. Sometimes you’d jump in if I left the door open a second too long. Then you would happily sit for10, 15, 20 minutes at the steering wheel, jumping into the backseat, and finally out. You were a funny boy. You had a funny quirk of jumping onto the picnic table and looking in the back window at us washing dishes or making dinner. Your timing was impeccable, you always knew when it was dinner time.

At night, you went on patrol. Any noise, car, person, got a barrage of barking and howling. But there were different tones for “it’s ok, they are going away from the house” and “Mom mom mom, someone’s coming SOMEONE’S COMING DOWN THE LANE!!!”
Your bark was worse than your bite, which Squeek proved. The first week we had her, you followed her like an inquisitive child. I eventually watched from a distance, and just as you were about to scoop her up into your mouth, I said REILLY don’t eat the baby. You started licking her then.
Squeek would curl up with you, and she would come along on walks as well. Then Suzie. Four in the gang.



When Squeek passed, you stood by the grave with me. And sat down next to it when I would go visit her. Sometimes I’d see you go visit her on your own.
Then poor Gwyn the following year, the same. You would take yourself off and sit on her grave, by yourself in the rain.
Without Gwyn, you became old overnight. Or very young. You followed me closely, and had to have me in your line of vision at all times. You also became deaf. But you understood sign language very well.

You were an active dreamer. Falling asleep quickly and giving chase to rabbits and foxes and pheasants. In your dreams you could do what your body was beginning to stop being able to.

Before I went to Australia, I said my goodbyes. You had had a few funny turns, and I honestly didn’t think you would see out the month. Luckily, you were still here when I returned, having gotten a second wind, or just being WILLED to stay alive by all of us. About 6 months ago, you stopped coming down the fields, and would instead perch at a vantage point to watch me walk alone.

But this year, you had slowed down significantly. And your mobility was compromised, with back legs that were withering away, and front legs not strong enough to carry you.
In you eyes on Thursday, you said it all. Mum, everything hurts. I’m exhausted and I can’t fall asleep.



You were mine for half my life. From 14 to a few weeks shy 30. You would have been 16 this June. You have been my constant companion, my shoulder, my rock, my most greatest love, my favourite being on earth, my joy, and child.
Your love was the purest, because it was unconditional. On my worst days, you still loved me the same. And that was your gift to me. That love. That love that you had from the moment I saw you when you were a tiny, baby, to the moment you closed your eyes for the last time. And even in leaving us, you held on. Oh, you held on so tight. But so did I.

The only comfort I have is that I know you are no longer in pain. That you are free of your body that had become a prison. You are running, leaping, bounding round the fields, with Gwyn running up like a clown, flushing the pheasant before you get a chance to point, and Squeek trailing along behind. I hope one day that will bring me peace.
But right now my heart is broken.
I love you, my sweet, darling, spirit guide, my sentinel, my protection, my best friend and charge, my boy, my baby my Reilly.

I love love love you, and always will.


Monday, May 30, 2016

The last few months...

As I said in my previous post, I've set myself a little task this year. And like most people's New Year's Resolutions, mine has gone a tad askew. I haven't taken a photo every single day, but mostly I have. This is partly due to a hip injury that put most of March out the window, and a trip to Australia in April, that turned my daily routine on it's head. But now that I'm home, and in a new routine (with a proper job and everything ;) !) I can get back to doing nonsense like making collages of the months of the year.

March

You'll notice that there are not 31 pictures in this college, because I spent most of the month either sitting, lying down or at physio. Fun times. And proof that it doesn't matter how fit you are, or you think you are, you can still pull a muscle you never heard of, doing hardly anything out of the ordinary. 

April

Luckily, the zillion hour flight to Oz, mixed with the extreme heat and slow pace completely cured my hip (I don't know, but I'm going with it). I took LOADS of pictures, but this is a good recap of all the main bits.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February round-up


The shortest month of the year is over, and Spring's here visibly on the ground and the trees, if not so much in the air. I have been curtailed over the last few weeks, due to an injury, but I've been getting plenty of work done from my settee and desk. Two trips to the beach and some long overdue family time, as well as playing around with some techniques I haven't used in years, and a commission.
^_^

Monday, February 1, 2016

January


I set myself a little side project for the year, just for fun, as a way to document what I am doing, a sort of visual diary. There are large sections of 2015 that I draw a blank over, I am hoping this will help me remember what I have done.
So every day I will take at least one picture, preferably something that will sum up the day, and at the end of the month, I will compile them, like above, and post them here, and over on fb.
I'm hoping I will learn some things from doing this. Common themes, colours, patterns.

Monday, September 21, 2015

September... ?!

It's hard to believe it's nearly the end of September already. The summer has simply flown (mostly because it took place during two weeks in April) and a scattering of days here and there. But like most summers, most of my time has been spent in the garden, even if that time has been cold and wet. And while I watched horizontal sheets of cold rain beating down, things did grow. Amazingly. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. Flowers and vegetables I've never grown before, took off with little or no effort, while my courgettes (something I've never thought much about) failed miserably...it was simply too cold.
So it has been a long, busy summer, in spite of the challenging weather. And like every summer (other than the zine fair) the art side of things, has been quiet-ish. I have been sneaking in some filming and I have a loose outline for a performance piece, but no drawings as such. I suppose, at the moment, I am at a thinking/planning/research phase in my own work, which is just as important as work WORK.
Anyway, here's a quick recap of what I've been up to:

The young garden, beetroot, fennel and onions. All of which looks more like a jungle now.


Field orchid


Trip to Kylemore Abbey <3 p="">

Aloe in the walled garden


Our usual entrance, and probably the reason why I am obsessed with *that* colour.


Patricia Piccinini' s magical show Relativity, part of the Galway International Arts Festival




Achil Henge, much more impressive than I was led to believe.



Fifth annual Dublin Zine Fair, two wonderful days spent in Dublin


Boo, with the zine hoard.


Scabious and heather


Bare ridges, waiting for garlic planting season.


What I think is Cladonia floerkeana, after it's spores have formed and finished.


Fox Moth baby


Boo, soaked from the long grass


Heart shaped cloud, because life is good!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dublin Zine Fair 2015


I am so pleased to be taking part in this year's 5th annual Dublin Zine Fair, in the Chocolate Factory, on the 15 and 16th of August.
This will be my second time attending in person, but I have had my work there many times before with my friend
This year I have a brand new zine, a tiny cookbook entitled Eat Me, a compilation of found recipes and my own experimentations in the kitchen. I also have prints, hama bead brooches, and few tricks up my sleeve. Check out the little interview I did for them - a very sweet way to promote all the stallholders' work and get the message out there! Check out their blog and like them on facebook for more updates in the lead up to the event.
It's not often you get the chance to meet the artists behind the work you love, or quiz people on their method or message. The zine fair provides that platform for interaction and connection. There will also be workshops on the days and plenty more things in store. It has always been a lovely thing to take part it, so hope to see you there!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Follow the Peacock Pheasant to my portfolio to see old work, new work, and everything in between.