This is the first picture I painted in 2011 and I ask myself; why did it take so long to get started this year?

As usual it was a combination of things.  I was sick in November with a bad case of dysentery which seemed to knock the stuffing out of me.  At the time I also found I had high blood pressure which made me very upset.  Recovering from the dysentery was a slow process and I had chronic diarrhoea with a lot of pain for several months.  To help deal with the high blood pressure I started a yoga practice which meant getting up very early in the morning although this turned out to be a lot easier than I thought.  It was as if my body knew that I needed this.

At the beginning of the year I found that all my paintings of last year were ruined by mould and ants.  I was very upset as I was hoping that I would be able to have an exhibition this year, but it won’t be possible.  I talked about this with another local painter who told me that he had experienced something similar and that he now paints with acrylic paints on what is known locally as ‘oil paper’ rather than the boards.  The pictures can be rolled up and kept in plastic tubes which protect them from mould, ants and anything else that ruins paintings.

With the very intense guest season of Auroville from December to March I found myself too busy until the beginning of March to go to Puducherry and get the paper and paints that I needed.  Finally I found the time to paint the above picture which I did it for my daughter Emma who is getting married in May.  I am a bit worried about whether she will like it or not so have decided that I will tell her to give it back to me if she doesn’t like it.  Originally I was going to embroider it but after several failed attempts painting seemed the better way to do it.

Before I started painting again I had taken down all the paintings that I had up on the walls.  I’m not sure why I did it, but it changed the feel of the rooms completely, making them feel lighter somehow.  And then of course there was all that blank space around me which seemed to encourage me to get the paper and the paints and start again.

After I had painted this picture I went to a Nia dance class where we danced ‘yin and yang’ which seemed to resonate with this picture.