Tag Archives: going sane

Day 4 – 5 photos – five day challenge – The Turning point – Going Sane

In 1987, my husband and I divorced.   It was as amicable as is possible.    He has been happily remarried for the past 27 years and I am on friendly terms with he and his wife.

At that time I made a very important decision.    I chose to live and work in my 150 year old carriage house studio in West Chester, Pennsylvania –  which at the time had electricity but  no heat and running water.  

I painted this large oil on canvas during this period, which symbolises for me the ending of one part of my life and beginning of another.    I was forty-three years old. P1160393 For the first forty years of my life, I was walking two paths.the first as a creative,  and the second, trying to fit into a society which made very little sense to me.   

In short,  I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.    

Walking two paths caused me to suffer from acute anxiety, which I now understand will inevitably occur when we try to be something we are not.

I have always known that once I make a decision, I can get on with things.   As the famous quote misattributed to Goethe says:-

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.   Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.  Begin it now. 

Once I made the decision to be true to myself as a creative and let go of all the trappings (such a good word) – that’s exactly what happened – all sorts of events occurred that I could never have predicted, events filled with power and magic. 

Large oil on canvas – symbolic self portrait – painted during this period. 


It took one year to get heat and water into the studio…..it was the year I grew up and although most people thought I had gone mad – in fact I had gone sane….

So many stories to write about that year….it warrants a book, but let it suffice to say that it was the beginning of a new way of life and being and as soon as I made the choice/decision – all anxiety was removed. 

Part of the studio after heat and water had been installed. (circa 1990)….this half was used for working and the other for living.     The space allowed me to work on several large canvases at one time. …which in an ideal world is how I like to work.

I have had many studios over the years, however this one holds the most significance.

Scan 74

A Bientôt

The Painted Table


In 1987, when I was just 37 years old, I underwent a huge change in my life.    The change was physical, emotional and spiritual.   At the time most people who knew me thought I had gone mad……but in fact, I had gone sane. 


I was to learn that when we experience a major transformation, life doesn’t change overnight.

Rather, transformation heralds the beginning of a long journey of many mini awakenings….lots of light bulbs flashing on, illuminating areas which prior to the change had been at best muddled and confused.

I learned that transformation doesn’t mean that we will never make mistakes again…..far from it.

I learned that when I make mistakes, I am able to see them in a different light, to understand their source and have the courage to confront whatever it is head on and work through it.


One of the first lessons I had to learn back in 1987 was the lesson of letting go.    

Letting go of so much of the stuff in life that had burdened and held me back.     Stuff that I had become overly attached to…..Stuff that owned me, rather than me owning it!


Like everything, this is an ongoing process…..it’s not something I suddenly got, and then never had to deal with it again….

Many times over since 1987, I have found myself becoming attached to the animate and inanimate stuff of life, only realising what a hold it had on me when I was able to let it go…..

The Painted Table was such an object.


When I moved to London eight years ago from The Magical Town of Crickadoon in Wales, I brought the table with me…..and began to use it as a painting table in my small London flat.

About two years ago, it  became apparent that it didn’t work anymore….it was heavy and wasn’t practical in my new space…..but I had become attached to it, especially given that it was covered with paint markings. 

Then I bit the bullet and gave it to the man who is caretaker of the flats I live in……he needed a table.


With the giving of the table to someone who needed it, I felt an instant sense of lightness and release…..

I replaced the Painted Table, which will always live in my heart, with a very practical, larger, light weight, fold up table and it works beautifully – and also doubles as a superb dining table when friends visit:)


A Bientôt