By 2000, I had been living in The Magical Town of Crickadoon (Crickhowell) for seven years. Having continued to do large mural projects and give workshops on both sides of the Atlantic, I knew that i needed to find a way to make regular income in a less strenuous manner.
Initially I thought of reproductions from my originals for hotels, hospitals, restaurants, etc. The print technology was growing, but nowhere near where it is today.
Just before leaving the States in 1993, I had licensed several images to a small company and quickly realised when I began to receive royalties, that this was the way to go.
By 2000, I had painted this image of Christeve the Cat with tiger and hummingbird. Everyone who came to my studio loved it, and so it became the cornerstone for what was to be the Christeve Project.
After producing more paintings featuring Christeve and her friends, the project attracted the attention of WRC Media in New York, an educational publishing company which owned The Weekly Reader, a magazine read in elementary schools throughout the States. The project was given the Weekly Reader seal of approval and there was even talk of an animated story line for Nickelodeon TV. which at that time was owned by WRC Media.
Without going into all the details, by the end of 2004, I had to accept that for reasons out of my control, it wasn’t going to happen! After what had been nearly five years continuous work, it was a hard pill to swallow!
October 2005 was a low point for me. I moved to London, ironically just a stones throw from where I was born. I had come full circle.
To begin with it was difficult. London and Crickhowell are two very different worlds. I had been used to hill walking every day and being involved in a small community. However, I am not one to give up and so I put one foot in front of the other and moved forward
Aerial view of Crickhowell and the Crickhowell bridge.
My first lucky break happened in London when I gave a portrait demonstration at Rose Cottage in Barnes. Martin and Greta Chaffer, approached me after the demo and asked if I would give a workshop for the Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society. They also asked if I was related to Carel Weight because he had been one of the founders of the Society back in the fifties! That meeting proved to be a turning point.
My first portrait painting workshop for the Fulham Hammersmith Arts Society – Spring 2006.
Then in the early summer of 2007 another stroke of good luck. I was asked to house/studio/animal sit just outside of Brussells, Belgium.
Every now and then we have a need for healing and nurturing – and the summers of 2007 and 2008 provided me with both elements. I was in a country environment, surrounded by animals and painting every day, which for me is the prefect life recipe…..
A very happy moment in the studio with the Pups….Spuggy and Raisin. They never left my side. I also looked after Jessie a much older Jack Russell, Iccle the pure white blue eyed and very deaf cat….and chickens.
I painted this large oil on canvas during the summer of 2007 inspired by my daily visits to the chicken coop.
At the same time I was working in many different areas of France, including, Paris, Brittany, SW and Northern France.
By 2008, I was clear that a permanent move to France was in order. I had organised accommodation and a studio in SW France where along with others, I would tutor and help organise international painting holidays and of course continue with my own work.
Mas Cabardes, La Montagne Noir area of SW France.
As we all know life can confront us with surprises. When I returned to London from France on October 1st 2008, I found that my Mother was very ill, which was to be the beginning of a new chapter. For anyone who has had an independent, healthy parent suddenly become ill they will know how traumatic it is.
This did mean that plans for moving to France were put on hold.
Again, without going into details…seven years later, my 92 year old Mother is in a good nursing home just five minutes from where I live in London.
It’s important to add that I started writing my blog seven years ago this month, just before my Mother became ill. During the three or more years that I oversaw her care at home, my blog was the one constant that kept me connected.
Some special events since 2000….Christie began to run marathons and even completed a triathlon!
I became great Aunt Janet to the beautiful twins born six years ago this month.
Living and working in London for the past nine years has allowed me to meet new people and at the same time continue my work/visits to France, Italy, Portugal, USA.
I continue to work on large canvases, and most recently have begun licensing my hummingbird images to HummingbirdHQ.com
Next move will be to Marmite Heaven🙂
Last, but certainly not least is the fact that my son, Jarrod recently reconnected with a childhood sweetheart. They are in love and very happy. Kendle’s Mother, Anne Buffington, is an artist friend of mine….proving once again, that none of us is every creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..
As always I conclude with a Magical Hummingbird, and wish all my friends in the States a happy Labour Day weekend…See you all next week.