Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

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Mervyn Peake Awards 2016

2016-07-06-1-London-1000The Mervyn Peake Awards 2016 were presented on Wednesday 6 July at the OXO Gallery, London. That’s on the South Bank (of the Thames), a short walk from Waterloo station. There was an awards ceremony and exhibition launch event in the afternoon and a VIP preview in the evening.

The exhibition is billed as a celebration of the creativity of people with Parkinson’s, and it is the first year that a full exhibition, open to the public, has been held in such a prestigious location. I have two pieces in the show: Ridge, a landscape that was shortlisted for the art award and Shelves of Inspiration, a composite still life and imaginary piece that won the multimedia themed award, “Inspire”.

f97b0-watermarked-skyline2b2016 62638-watermarked-shelvesofinspiration

As a winner of one of the awards, I had been invited to both events, along with my guest, Sophie (aka PollieMath). It was truly wonderful to have Sophie’s company; we have much in common and had a lot to talk about… and a lot of things to draw.

2016-07-06-SouthBank1a 2016-07-06-1-StPauls 2016-07-06-SouthBank2

I must admit that I found the whole being-a-winner-experience rather odd. I’m not used to the attention, although I did appreciate all of the positive comments about the winning painting. Inspiration is a very individual thing, and this painting was a very personal piece, and one that I spent a lot of time on – both planning and painting it.

I duly received my award from the fabulous Anders M. Leines, Norwegian photographer responsible for the thought-provoking exhibition “This is Parkinson’s”. Anders asked me if I had anything to say. “No”, I replied (which at least amused the audience), and offered me a hug. That was nice.

The full video version of Ander’s exhibition is on display at the Mervyn Peake Awards exhibition, which is still running – on until 10 July – so, if you’re in London this weekend, do try to visit it.

And if you do visit the exhibition, I’d love to hear what you think.




Mervyn Peake Awards 2016 – Inspired!

Shelves of Inspiration, acrylic on wooden panel, 40 x 40 cm

This is my winning entry to this year’s multimedia themed category. The theme is “Inspire”. My idea was that I find inspiration in many things – everywhere – and in many ways, and so I created a set of shelves to display them on.

Parkinson’s UK’s official announcement is here.

I was also shortlisted in the art category with “Ridge”.

Ridge, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm

But my poem didn’t make the grade.

I am illusion

I am illusion,
A 2-d invitation,
To step into, to step right through
The picture plane, to find anew,
Space to be, time to see.

I am distraction,
Reflection and refraction.
See the world through another’s eyes,
Another’s truth, another’s lies.
An other understanding.

I am perspective,
Inherently subjective.
I revolt, revive, reward.
I am everything, nothing, all.
I am life. I am art.



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Mervyn Peake Awards 2015 – the event


Sketches of the chapel at King’s College

This year’s Mervyn Peake Awards was held on Wednesday 26th August at King’s College, the Strand campus, London, a conveniently short walk across the river from Waterloo Station. In the pouring rain… I took an umbrella.

Having arrived in good time, and tolerably dryly, I had time to check out the elaborately decorated chapel. My sketches do not do it justice.

The ceremony itself proceeded as these things do. Speeches were made, winners were congratulated and applauded, and the judges made a few remarks about the judging process, which was an interesting touch.

A light meal was then served (I was hungry by then; it had been a long time since breakfast) and I talked to my neighbours on the table. On one side, there was a young graduate employee of Parkinson’s UK, wonderfully enthusiastic and friendly; on the other, a retired biochemist with a serious interest in art. He has Parkinson’s and his entry to the art category was highly commended – and highy innovative. He and his wife were both lovely to talk to.

Somehow, I didn’t manage to mingle much. Then it was time to leave, via Waterloo Station…

mymy500See my entries here.



Obsession Ink pot
Motion disorder

Sometimes its hard
to do what I oughta

Okay, so it’s not really as bad as all that.

I’m only moderately obsessed with doing art. And maybe a few other things, but less so. But, by golly, they are all so much more interesting than housework. And interesting things are pleasantly distracting, making it easier to ignore the extant symptoms of Parkinson’s.

And those symptoms do make doing stuff more difficult.

Anyway, that little poem is unlikely to make the grade for the Mervyn Peake awards. Entries open on the first of February for Painting, Poetry, Photography and The Themed Category, which is “Together” this year. Oh! and this year you can also enter a book. Better get scribbling…

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The Mervyn Peake Awards judges have come up with their shortlists (and they are quite short, too, with only 10 entries on each) and I have entries on two of them!

Poetry is not for me (as Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays sang) this year; my entry “Rock … Water … Canvas” isn’t on the shortlist. Photography isn’t for me, either, but I didn’t enter that category, so that’s no surprise.

Both of my shortlisted entries are paintings. There’s one in the Art category and one in the Control (themed) category.

The awards ceremony and reception is to be held in July, in London.

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Mervyn Peake Awards 2012 – the awards ceremony – some extra stuff

After all the excitement of yesterday’s event, and writing it up in the wee small hours as I did, I completely forgot to include:

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