Brilliant

Brilliant Women

I’ve mentioned my travels to and from Doncaster in previous posts (Heckington, Grantham, Doncaster, Manchester…). For nearly two years I’ve been going once a fortnight or so to this South Yorkshire town for my training placement in family mediation. I enjoy the 20-minute walk from station to office (along the High Street, past the fetching Blue Building, pictured below), but often that is all I see of the place.

When I do have time to spare, or to kill, I go to The Point on South Parade, home to Doncaster Community Arts and a nice cafe. Last Thursday I was amazed by their exhibition Brilliant Women. The artist Michelle Clarke-Stables invited people to send her snapshots of women who inspired them. The exhibition includes her portraits from the photos and what was said about the women in the paintings, about their creativity, caring, strength, integrity, humour and more besides.

‘Brilliant Women’ is a brilliant title. I felt I walked into a room full of energy and light, of humanity, wisdom, power and love. Clarke-Stables’ portraits are warm and vivid, but what impressed and intrigued me most was the relationship between the paintings and the knowledge that these women all meant something special in someone’s life. Somebody chose each one. Somebody thinks of each one and celebrates.

That choosing, that memory and celebration gave the painted women life and substance. I imagined them stepping off the walls and milling around me. I felt myself in the presence of superwomen.

Yet these women are ordinary. We all know someone just like this. And life is the richer for them being in it; and we give thanks.

Blue Building

Quite a big kitchen garden

As said in the previous post, my mum and I spent a day seeing gardens in Norfolk, of which my favourite parts were, as they always are, the kitchen gardens. Those pictured above were are Houghton Hall where we also saw a collection of paintings which once belonged to Robert Walpole but have been living in Russia since his heirs sold them to Catherine the Great.

The Rembrandts, Van Dycks and the like filled me with wonder; the octagonal fruit cage pictured above aroused instead a childish covetousness. I don’t think we’ll have room for one quite that big…