Tag Archives: A life well lived

Remain in the simplicity of the present moment.

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts.   What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future?   Remain in the simplicity of the present moment….From the book Buddhist Offerings 

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1070)

During the past few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of remaining in the simplicity of the present moment.

My Aunt Peggy was one of those people who seemingly always lived this way.      Recently, aged 97 and receiving hospice care, she succumbed and passed on.      Given that I am her only surviving relative, I am currently involved in organising her funeral which means I will be away from here for a while longer.

Aunt Peggy as a young woman. til August 10 151I have been surrounded with strong, and unusual woman all my life – from my Grandmothers, to my Mother and Aunt Peggy.

Peggy had a great influence on my life.    When I was just three years old and visiting my Grandmother in London, I saw one of Peggy’s sketch books, and it was at that moment that I knew I would be an artist.

I never heard her complain or say anything negative about others.    She always encouraged me.      I feel blessed to have had her in my life.

Peggy at 96P1140070 Nearly ten years ago, Peggy lost her only son, my cousin James – aged 57….and although I know it hurt her terribly she never complained.      Although Peggy was not a religious woman in the conventional sense, she was deeply spiritual and believed that eventually she and James would be reunited…..

I anticipate being away from here for the next two weeks at least…..and during that time, I plan to surround myself and Peggy with magical hummingbirds…..She would like that:)20-11-15-1-71A Benton

A Life Well Lived – Madame Nottale – a remarkable woman.

Madame Nottale died a few weeks ago.    Selfishly I would have loved to spend much more time with her, however at 94 years old she was ready to move on.     I feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known such a wonderful human being, whose life was indeed well lived.

A recent photograph of Madame Nottale with her daughter Claudia. 

P1050879When Claudia Nottale came to stay with my family in the States in 1978 she was just seventeen years old.    I had no idea at the time that she would become a life long friend.

Claudia Nottale – 17 years old – oil on canvas

10996105_10153048192965396_8451570209771699384_o-2In 1984 on one of my trips back to the UK and Europe to visit family and friends, Claudia’s Mother  invited me to dinner at her home in Marley le Roi, not too far from Paris.       I will always remember the first moment we met.        Her warmth and love shone through.

So much could be said about her life….Mother of seven remarkable children, nurse, friend to so many, lover of nature and in her latter years when she had time for herself….the brilliance of her painting and  writing shone through.

Portrait of Madame Nottale in 1985…..watercolour/gouache

1658677_10152253045490396_1279733086_o

She was a woman who exemplified what it is to live life well.     She exhibited great courage and at the same time compassion for others. – I would say that she spent much of her life alleviating suffering in others in tangible ways as a nurse and Mother and in less tangible ways simply by being who she was.    For to be in her presence was indeed a beautiful experience.

Madame Nottale drawing me September 2015

P1170885

She loved colour and chocolate…….two things we had in common:)    During her latter years she painted and wrote every single day.    The walls and every other surface in her room were covered in her work.

P1170865

Three  years ago, I made this watercolour of her….which I feel demonstrates her letting go of worldly worries and coming home to her true calling…..that of being an artist and writer.

135830_10151286353205396_2041716361_o-2

Deeply spiritual, and an inspiration to all……Madame Nottale must surely be in a heaven with unlimited paints, paper, brushes and pens…and of course surrounded with beautiful flowers and hummingbirds:)

A special moment with Madame Nottale……

P1040540

‘There are always flowers for those who want to see them.’     Henri Matisse.  

Moon, Mountains and Magical hummingbird – inspired by a drawing by Madame Nottale. 

20-11-15 - 1 (6)

A Bientôt