THE COURAGE TO PICK UP THE BRUSH – IS PAINTING A CHALLENGE YOU WOULD PURSUE?

THE COURAGE TO PICK UP THE BRUSH – IS PAINTING A CHALLENGE YOU WOULD PURSUE?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

It sometimes seems as if certain events as a child shape your future and this certainly had been in the case for many years as a result of one incident that occurred very early on at my school.

I was sent to a Convent at the age of 5 and stayed there until I had completed my education, so a total of 13 years.  I can’t say I hated it, and most of the Nuns were well intentioned, and there were individuals I vividly remember who would make fabulous characters in a books or movies.  One read Jackie Collins books, tucked out of sight under her habit, professing to be censoring them for the older girls.  Another was a frustrated tennis champion, who would have given Navratilova a run for her money, as she seemed to be on the tennis court every day at every opportunity and others who were mostly kind if not a little eccentric.

I say ‘mostly’ because there was one very ‘bad’ Nun, Sister St John who was quick tempered and judgemental, and it all started when I was late for meeting my grandfather in the hall after school, who had been waiting to pick me up.  By the time I had reached him, he had decided to leave me there for another half an hour as I was seeming to enjoy playing with my friends outside.  It actually suited him as he wanted to get something from the local shop, but it led to a tirade of abuse from our ‘bad’ Mother accusing me of being spoilt and a thoughtless brat.

It may seem strange that I remember the incident so well, being only five or six, but it stuck in my mind as Sister St John was the Art Teacher who remained throughout my school education, and seemed to victimise me onwards from that day.

It may also seem a little paranoid, but over the years it was as if I didn’t exist.  She never commented on my artwork and not once did she display any of my paintings on the Art Room wall.  I was really good at Drama and English Literature, and received the highest award in the sixth form for Drama and Poetry, but I left school believing I had absolutely no artistic flair for painting at all.

I was well into my forties before my then husband’s brother who was a painter, challenged me to pick up the brush, something I had resisted for many years.

He told me that if we spent a day together he would teach me to paint and I would have created a picture at the end of it.  He said it didn’t matter how good or bad it was, it was just for me and to overcome the stigma I had carried around with me for so many years.

I agreed, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.  We painted in oils, and I literally let my mind run free as I dabbed paints and mixed colours and applied them to the canvas, resulting in a wonderful amalgamation of free spirited expression.  I didn’t even think about it being good or bad, and decided to give it a go in my free time in the future.

That was 15 or so years ago, and since then I have attended several art classes and courses, and even had my landscape painting displayed on a wall at one of them.

I have also had my abstract work displayed at an art exhibition called ‘Friends and Family’ at The Vaults in London opposite the London Eye, and have recently raised £550 as one of my paintings was auctioned for charity at a local event.

When asked I still say I just paint for passion and I am not very good, but my judgment has to change soon, as when I was having one of my paintings framed in a shop in Islington, a famous singer asked me how much it would be to buy.  I was so shocked I said it was not for sale, but asked her how much she felt it would be worth, to which she replied ‘I don’t know, my husband is the art dealer’.  I still can’t believe I have any talent for painting, but the world seems to be proving me wrong.

So how about you – and it is not about how good or bad you are?  It is all about the courage to pick up the brush, and if you don’t you will never know whether or not painting is for you.

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JANINE DUVITSKI – A PERFECTLY CLASSIC CAREER

JANINE DUVITSKI – A PERFECTLY CLASSIC CAREER

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Janine Duvitski is a ‘classic’ in every sense of the word, which is evident from her first appearance on stage in her youth, to her subsequent success as a National Treasure.

Janine was born in the fifties and always wanted to be an Actress.  She unconsciously pioneered the ‘Law of Attraction’ as at a very early age, where at the age of 10 she created a secret ‘wish box’ which held her dreams as an adult which were to have a successful career in acting, a house in the centre of London, to be married to an actor and have six children.  She has achieved all of them.  She lives in a four story house in the centre of Holborn, is married to Actor Paul Bentall, has four children of her own with Paul and two step-children, and the rest is history, with her amazing acting career spanning four decades.

A true ‘classic’ in every sense, there were no short cuts for Janine as she auditioned for East Fifteen Acting School at the age of 17 and honed her craft for three years, coming through with flying colours.  On leaving drama school Janine went into rep, and was then discovered by ground breaking television Director, Alan Clarke who gave her the lead in a revolutionary TV Drama, Diane, telling the harrowing story of a young girl who had been sexually abused by her father and who had subsequently born his child.

The play was eventually televised amidst public reproach in spite of efforts to prevent it reaching the public.  But Janine was well on her way, and the legendary Mike Leigh was soon to give her the break she had been waiting for.  Abigail’s party was everything Janine needed to portray all of her strengths as an actor, a role she created with Mike Leigh alongside the other actors, through improvisation and one that carried her through to give her the recognition she deserved.

Janine then went on to perform at the National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic, with stunning reviews alongside contemporaries like Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith.

She was also in demand for feature films and national television, and starred in well-known TV series such as Waiting for God and One Foot in the Grave as well as movies such as Dracula, starring opposite Sir Lawrence Oliver.

Janine has also had success with her daughter Ruby Bentall becoming a successful actor and Edith Bentall who is well on her way to music fame as a singer-songwriter.

Janine has been appearing in Benidorm from 2007-2019 as the lovable Jacqueline, a middle aged swinger who moves to Spain to improve her marriage, with hilarious consequences.  Janine’s comedic and natural talent has become legendary, for which she has achieved public acclaim.

So what is next for Janine?  Having spoken to her in her backstage at the Palladium where she is starring opposite Nigel Havers and Julian Clary in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, she is excited at the possibilities for the future and is open to offers that are already on the table for film, theatre and television.

Janine Duvitski is a ‘classic’ in every sense, and I have a feeling her ‘wish box’ is not yet complete as she embarks on the next exciting chapter in her career and reveals even more of her infinite talents.

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THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE –  AS WE BEGIN A NEW DECADE AND EXPLORE OUR OWN VOYAGE INTO THE FUTURE

THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE – AS WE BEGIN A NEW DECADE AND EXPLORE OUR OWN VOYAGE INTO THE FUTURE

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

We are constantly being told not to look back and to have no regrets, but during a recent life coaching session, I was urged to write a letter to the Universe outlining everything I am grateful for and has enhanced my life so far, and that as a result magical things would happen.

I was reminded of Oprah Winfrey who reportedly suffers from depression and anxiety – but her first call every morning is to give thanks for each and every part of her life and surroundings, including the simple things, and not just the yields of her wealth and fame.

So as I set about putting pen to paper, so many aspects of the past emerged, some I had buried deep in my unconscious but had popped up as a result of a random thought or memory ignited by another – the strongest being the love I had received from family and friends.  I couldn’t see the sense at the time, but trusted my mentor and as I did felt a surge of energy through my body which was quite indescribable.

Gratitude is apparently famous for evoking a high spiritual frequency as is love, and I now believe is a good place to begin, especially as we are about to start a new decade.  It is also brilliant if you want to take the next step in your life, as it will give you a strong mental platform to take a leap of faith into the future.

So where is this all leading, I was urged to seek life coaching when I had reached a crossroads as to where to put my energies, and as I had a plethora of skills all crying out to be commissioned.  But my revered coach quickly identified where I would create most value.

It was a surprise because I felt she would opt for the most practical of options and the ones that seemingly would make the most money, but instead she urged me to follow my heart and my passion, as then she insisted, I would be fulfilled and only then could I create value on all fronts.  She was right in her analysis.

It was a treasured lesson, and one that I have been putting in place for the past few months.  I have been lucky to meet someone with whom my life has resonated in terms of mentoring, and felt compelled to write about the experience to give you the opportunity to explore your own inner journey which will in turn change your life and perhaps put it back on course.

Choosing a life coach is a very personal experience, and one that only you can decide is right for you.  I can help by making suggestions but it is ultimately your call, and one that I hope will be as life changing for you as it was for me.

A couple of suggestions I can make initially are Lynne Franks, who operates from her own holistic healing centre in Somerset The Hub at No 3, where I spent a blissful three days being mentored and nurtured by Lynne and her highly practised professionals in the art of holistic healing.

This I would heartily recommend to start the new year and the new decade.  You can explore all of Lynne’s courses, and do not be afraid of group sessions as they are gentle and nurturing, but you could also book her for a one on one coaching which is transformational.

If you would like to venture further afield, you could try one of Jason Chan’s healing centres in Thailand.  Jason is famous for releasing stubborn spiritual blockages, and I highly recommend him to change deeply embedded karmic energies. Jason also visits many countries where you can visit him including the UK.

Happy 2020 everybody, and huge thanks for being part of our spiritual journey and for all of the love you have shown us.   Let’s make 2020 and beyond a decade to remember for the good in every way possible!

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STRIKE A POSE – A TALE OF HUMAN SURVIVAL

STRIKE A POSE – A TALE OF HUMAN SURVIVAL

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

POSE is an extraordinary television series, that is not only ground breaking but in a category of its own.  It has been described as a Dance Musical, a revelation about LGBT culture and the explosion of the gender fluid Ball Rooms in New York City in the 80s.  But I wouldn’t categorise, as to me it stands on its own as one of the most staggering and enlightening programmes to hit the screens in years.

I was around in the Eighties, living life to the full as a youngster and full of hope for the future.   So how did murmurs of this extraordinary underworld escape us.  Madonna burst onto the scene with Vogue which apparently emulated the moves and mood particular to this Ball Room culture, but how come it stayed under wraps for more than thirty years.   Was the World not ready to listen, perhaps we can empathise with this generation who suffered the humiliation of HIV and Aids, which carried a huge stigma and still does to this day.

But if you can look beyond the camp and the glitter, there are stories crying out to be told of regular folk whose status is their only stigma, through no fault of their own, whether it be a gender issue or being tested HIV positive.

As survival was key in those forbidden days, a number of ‘houses’ sprung up with one mentor at the helm who would take in LGBTQ youth who had been rejected by their families, for being ‘different’.

Mj Rodriguez is magnificent as Blanca Evangelista, the selfless house ‘mother’, and we see her realm flourish as she takes in young homeless men and women who have lost their way.  Blanca helps them to reveal their unique talents and sets them on the road to recovery with successful careers in dance, business and modelling.

I would recommend this as a wonderful watch over Christmas, perhaps not family viewing, but pure escapism if you would like to time travel back to the eighties and feel the intensity of the time and the wonders of human survival.

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DOWNTON ABBEY THE MOVIE

DOWNTON ABBEY THE MOVIE

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

As I watched the Downton Abbey movie, it occurred to me that a good film provides the formula for success, a bit like a great recipe or fabulous banquet.

Downton has been a success story from the outset, and the film reflects every element that made it such a huge hit with audiences across the country and indeed the world.

 

The characters are key to every good story, and these are in abundance from the haughty Lady Mary played by Michelle Dockery to the deliciously wily Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, played so deftly by Maggie Smith.  You will adore her beautifully placed quips and relish her ‘put downs’ to all and sundry as she weaves her wondrous web of cunning against her less devious cousin who does her best to hold her own.

The storyline is artfully interwoven with both pathos and genuine emotional engagement, from Tom finding love again, to now Head Butler, Thomas Barrow finding a like-minded partner, albeit in secret.

The charm of an era that was already fading, was depicted in the pomp and ceremony of the day, with the visit from the Queen to Downton Abbey and the Ball held in her honour at a nearby Country Estate.  The hierarchy of the servants as they vie for position within their own household, and their own delightfully devilish plan as they endeavour to dethrone the overly zealous Royal servants ‘in waiting’.

I defy anyone not to love the movie, as it is beautifully filmed and wonderfully performed, the script providing all the humour, drama, sentiment and excitement of the day, whilst raising questions of class and prejudice that still exist a hundred years on, and rear their heads in our Society today.

Downton Abbey is pure escapism, and I can only fully recommend this film which will no doubt stand the test of time, in a World where everything took just a little bit longer.

 

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