Thursday, 25 February 2010

Some Photos. A Lovely Event. for an account of being an Artist and Mother in West Sussex for my website to email me

Photos of the Exhibition at 127 Worple Road, SW20
Open from 10am -5pm daily until
Sunday 28 Feb.
Final Closing Night Celebration Sunday 28 Feb 6-9pm
Please come. It would be lovely to see you.

The Exhibition is set up and the house lends warmth and empathy to the paintings. It is good that life is going on around the images, we are able to live amongst them and I am interested that people are able to talk while visiting, talk about things that are important.

" The Loneliness Triptych. Or Where Did You Go"

The most pressing pain was not knowing where Steve had gone. Where did he go? In this triptych, I sit alone with an empty chair and Steve's slippers, then there are only two empty chairs, and then just Steve's slippers. I am looking straight ahead and my eyes are red from crying. The theme of the painting is emptiness. Loss, things Going. things Not Being There.

A View Of Paintings "A Graceful Death" exhibition

A view of " A Graceful Death 2", my most favourite painting.

This is the day Steve went to another unknown unknowable place. He was beyond us, wherever that is, and I was left with his empty beautiful body. There are two inspirations for this painting, one is the wonderful Deposition paintings of Holbein, of the stark 15 and 16 century paintings of the Entombment of Christ, Christ Crucified. The power of the iimage is made more dramiatic by making it represent Jesus who is the Son of God. The second inspiration was from an artist i met called Stevan Stratford who painted a portrait of his daughter with a gold background that made such an impression on me. The gold in the background lifted the image to a higher plane. Steve here is in full glory and is where we all will be.

A view of the "Glum Angels Triptych" and "Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend"

The Glum Angels are just sad and drooping because Steve has died. "Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend" concerns a dear old family friend who died last year. He was my father and mother's close friend, and my father had spent many years teaching with him, and travelling around Europe in the 1950s. My father, despite having had a bad stroke, would come down from London to sit with Michael and this image is the last time my father saw him. We knew Michael could not last long here, and my father finally bent over to him and whispered Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend, before getting the train back to London. Michael died a few hours later.

The exbibition continues until 9pm Sunday 28 Feb.

Wonderful First Night for an account of being an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis for my website to email me

A Wonderful First Night. Very Moving and Different This Time

Yesterday the Exhibition opened. It was a good team effort at Clarissa's huge Wiimbledon House to get the exhibition space prepared, and then the paintings hung. For a more lightheated account of the day and evening go to .

This exhibition really talks to people. I am so sure that most of us carry around really profound experiences, that the death of someone close to us is something we all know about. And we just carry on, eventually, and the experience takes its place with all the other life experiences, and get on with things. But it changes us. There is a Before and an After. So many people who come to the exhibition come with stories that make me so respectful of the human spirit. I have lost Steve. OK. I painted him I wrote about him but I lost one person. I met a lady yesterday who had lost her husband and two of her four children. How does one live then? This lady was asking me about my story with such grace and wisdom that I wonder at her calm.

I am more than ever convinced that there is a need for this kind of exhibition. I don't know where it will go after Birmingham, I don't know who will host it next, but I know someone will. It is a very necessary experience, to open the way for us to talk about death, dying and how we will die. The exhibition is not depressing. Feedback is that it is not miserable, it is difficult and moving and weighty. But hopeful. It is hopeful. It deals with dying, death, loss, illness and hope, life, creativity and love.

The exhibition is open now till Sunday. Come and see it, it really is an experience.

WED 24 FEB - SUN 28 FEB FROM 10am - 5pm DAILY
SUN 28 FEB 6 -9
You are warmly invited to the closing evening celebration too.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Ready To Open On Wednesday 10am for news and views of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis

Ready To Open This Wednesday 24 February

Mr Hiram Burnett. He was, says his daughter Cecil, a character.

I am delighted to include Hiram Burnett in this exhibition. Cecil's account of her father's death is very moving and very wonderful. He did not want to die, and yet he did die peacefully with Cecil there with him. I hope to include Cecil's account of it in the exhibition too.

I am finding this exhibition very different to the West Sussex one. It does make a difference that it is not cancelled at the last minute, and re-assembled elsewhere. The paintings have been done, I have made up a very small brochure to explain what I am doing and where this exhibition is intended to go. All is going well, then.

It is with huge respect and thanks to Clarissa de Wend Fenton that it is going ahead. She has been so helpful and generous with her time and her house. It helps that not only is she so kind, but she believes in the exhibition, and that gives me so much strength.

So, please come on Wednesday. It opens on this Wednesday 24 Feb, at 10am, and the Opening Night Do is from 6 - 9pm Wednesday evening. The exhibition is open, and I am there all the time, from 10am to 5pm daily, with a final Closing Night do on the Sunday 28 Feb from 6pm - 9pm.

See you all there. It will be good, and it will be worth the visit.

A Loneliness and Tea Diptych. Acrylic on wood. About 10" x 6"

This is to show that despite the loneliness, the feelings of isolation and sorrow, there is still tea. Here I can still have a cup of tea, even if the tea mug is held hanging losely from my hand. There is still Tea In The Pot.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

“A Graceful Death” comes to London.

Paintings from the End Of A Life
by Antonia Rolls
127 Worple Road, Wimbledon, SW20 8RQ
Care of Clarissa de Wend Fenton.

Wednesday 24 February to Sunday 28 February
10am to 5pm daily
Open Evening Wednesday 24 February 6pm – 9pm
Closing Evening Sunday 29 February 6pm – 9pm

Exhibition kindly sponsored by
Clarissa de Wend Fenton of Property Lodge, Ralph C Rolls, Michael Copeman RIP


This Exhibition is about the power of the spirit to live despite the effects of such a disease as cancer.

I have painted the last few weeks, days and day of Steve’s life. It seems that most of you have had a similar experience, the loss of someone you love, whether through cancer or not is not really the issue. The death of someone important to you changes your life forever.
I have painted Steve with love and compassion. I painted what I saw and how I felt. My heart goes out to him, for the speed at which his cancer ravaged his body, but I am also profoundly grateful to him for dying so powerfully and bravely, and showing me that it can be done. Despite the fear, the denial, the anger, he wearily accepted the inevitable just a few days before he died and told me he had decided it was time to go. From that moment on, he was so peaceful and patient. The remaining few days were not easy for him or us, but it was a miracle I am honoured to have witnessed. It was truly
A Graceful Death.
You are warmly invited to the exhibition and to bring your own stories and experiences.
At each showing of this exhibition I will add another painting of someone else’s story. This exhibition will show a painting of Mr Hiram Burnett, the father of my good friend Cecil, in hospital before his death. He did not want to die, despite which, Cecil's account of his death was beautiful and powerful and peaceful.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Birmingham Dates Confirmed for an account of being an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis for my website to email me

Birmingham Dates Confirmed

I am very happy to say that the A Graceful Death will be shown in Birmingham from the 8 March for two weeks. It will be a wonderful opportunity for discussion and response and there may be another painting painted especially for this Birmingham exhibition. I have an idea for a new painting but must speak to the family first as the bereavement was so recent.

I will post the address and the times very soon when the invites and Private View are sorted. I will give an address on the Monday 8 March about the paintings and the subject of the end of life. Later on the 8th there will be the Private View and another address.

After the Birmingham exhibition I have no venue yet. If you would like to host A Graceful Death please contact me. Email me with ideas, I would like to take it to somewhere that would understand and benefit from it.

I am painting a new painting now of Mr Hiram Burnett for the A Graceful Death, with kind permission from his daughter, Cecil. Thank you Cecil.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A Good Day In Birmingham for an account of being an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis for my website to email me

I went to Birmingham yesterday to discuss the A Graceful Death being shown there. I was late arriving, which was a pity, but still saw most of the people I was meant to see. I took some of the paintings with me so they could relate to the real items, not just the photographs.

When we have dates set for this exhibition, I will give an address on the meaning of the paintings and the meaning of dying. I have only had, yet, this one experience of it. I need the input of other people, many of whom have has this experience more than once. People react so differently to death and dying. Either their own or someone elses. I wonder if we react as we think we will. I didn't. I think I surprised myself utterly with what I chose to get me through the first few days, weeks, months and first year of bereavement.

At Birmingham I met with a dear friend who has set all this up for me. She was and is, so full of compassion and intelligence. She introduced me to her colleagues who made me very welcome and said, and this feels very good, perceptive and insightful things about the exhibition and effect of the paintings. They are not taking this lightly and are making sure that there is enough in place should anyone want to talk or cry or be angry.

I met a lady who's mother had recently died. Her response to the paintings was generous and spiritually uplifting. Her grief and the power she felt of her loss was so apparant. But she absolutely understood the whole need to generate the conversation about death and dying that this exhibition is aiming for. She understood it from deep inside her own pain and bereavement. I was very moved by her words and response. My dear friend too, who has organised the whole idea of exhibition up in Birmingham, understands the need to discuss and see images of the end of life. She is deeply sensitive. She is a poet and writer too and I have one of her poems in my studio to keep me going. I will ask her if I can put it into the exhibition, as it was the one I kept referring to when I was first without Steve.

London is going well as far as I can see. Clarissa de Wend Fenton, who is hosting and sponsoring the exhibition (along with Michael Copeman and Ralph C Rolls) is doing so much to support and help. Without her, I would be lost! Thank you Clarissa.

Please come to the two Private Views too, on Wednesday 24 Feb and Sunday 28 Feb from 6pm to 9pm.