So, the show is over, Open Studios has come to an end. The pictures are down, the boards and signs have been put away for another year and St Gregory's has returned to normal. We saw lots of lovely visitors, had many fascinating conversations and sipped a fair few cups of coffee - many, many thanks to all of you who came along and supported us. So, here's a question, did it really matter?
Strange question? Certainly, but bear with me, it's been a strange couple of weeks since we wound things up at Offchurch, so let me just share a few thoughts with you.
As many of you may know, I am fortunate enough to spend about half of the year in France, in fact, this is where I do most of my painting. Why do I paint here? Well, because the light here in Nice is so wonderful - clear and luminous. So almost as soon as the exhibition was over, we headed back to our home in the sun, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Baie des Anges. In Nice.
Five days ago though I awoke to dreadful news, death and mayhem in this magical city. We have celebrated many Bastille days here, watched many firework displays, so I could imagine the scene all too well. At the time though, I was safe, I was many miles away visiting our latest grandchild. While I held this little scrap of new life, so precious, others, in a place I love, were going through unbelievable suffering. I held him very close, I read the news reports, I cried. And all day I received messages from friends and loved ones, people I haven't seen or spoken to in a long time, anyone who knew we spent time in Nice, all checking we were safe.
So, the photo wasn't actually taken at the end of the show, but on the first morning, when I received the news of my grandson's birth. A great cause for celebration, it seemed a good omen, and it was. We had an excellent Open Studios. But, returning to my earlier question, did it really matter? Of course it did, but if the last week has taught me anything, it's a sense of perspective. The world looks a more dangerous place today, but there is still beauty and humanity to be found if you look for it, better still, if we create it. So get creating!