It’s funny, it can come from all places, from all times and all walks of life; but it is most often found amongst the deluge of depression and tragedy. Like a glimmer of hope in the form of a shining light of realisation that all of a sudden seems so obvious. And indeed it is where I find myself once again. I find mine in the form of a young aspiring artist called Emma Haines. Something about the visit to her gallery in Ilfracombe, North Devon really resonated with me. A fellow horse enthusiast, many of her works were horse based and vibrant and alive with colour, a trait I love. My wonderful partner very kindly purchased two of them as a birthday present.
I had been asking him to take me to the Woolacombe Bay Hotel for ages, years in fact. It was where he would stay with work. When he first told me he had finally booked a night for my birthday I felt so excited. I spent weeks looking forward to it despite the looming tragedy I have now endured. As we wound our way down the hill to the beautiful setting below my heart raced with anticipation. The dark sandy beach surrounded by the peaks and rolling lucid green hills were what dreams are made of. The sunlight glinted off the swells of the crashing waves as they lurched over the shore. As we pulled into the car park he pointed to the room in the tower on the 2nd floor and told me that is where we would spend the night. I couldn’t wait to get inside and see where we would be staying. When I opened the charming antique and slightly wonky wooden door to our room I gasped and smiled. The view from our room could only be described as spectacular.
The whole experience was so romantic, the only disappointment was that time robbed us of prolonging our enjoyment further. We strolled along the beach barefoot, hand in hand as the sea crashed around our soft and sensitive skin and we waded through enjoying the refreshing chill that lingered as we felt the strength of the pull on our toes and the sand was taken from beneath us. The waves crashed around us in a powerful yet peaceful and soothing roar. We glanced at the pristine picture of the blue sea meeting the green hills of the countryside surrounding us, the rocks etched like little reminders of landscapes once passed. It was simply glorious. A scene so serene I could gaze upon it for hours, I worked hard to capture it in my mind, locking it my memory for all eternity.
We navigated the windy country and coastal roads into Ilfracombe the following day, expecting a coastal walk and a look around the sleepy seaside town to be the hustle and bustle of our activities for the day. Feeling captivated by the wonderful views and feeling of peace and tranquility about the place, I almost passed Emma’s shop window without a second glance. It was my partner who spotted the beautiful colourful horse and marched me across the road and inside, and I’m so glad he did. What a wonderful experience. I’ve never seen use of colour so vivid and captivating in the form of illustrative expressionism yet so technically accurate. Details were missed yet only added to the charm and enhanced the aesthetics of the work. As an artist there is clear illustrative brilliance. The character and personality of each animal and human are captured and immortalised. I longed to pick up a paintbrush again; to feel the pressure of a pencil glance the pages of textured paper and watch images come to life beneath it. I was inspired. I had to ask how she did it.
Emma was delightful to speak to and we all had a lovely conversation and it was wonderful to hear that she was local and had followed her dream and won an award for her work which was displayed and toured the country. She was more than happy to talk about how she had acquired the shop, her love of horses and her hopes for the future. As I listened with delight to the enjoyment her work and life brought her I felt a warmth rise within me. A creative fire igniting that I haven’t rekindled for many years. A fire that had been all but extinguished in the years I had dedicated to education. For all these years and in the absence of my horse fix I felt something was missing. I was beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together once again as the embers burned.
I realise that your passions cannot be ignored, whether you have one or one hundred, it is equally important to make time to nurture each and every one one of them as best as you can. I have already promised myself a horse when I am able to support it financially; and I am pleased to say within a day I dug out my sketch book and once again picked up a pencil and put it to paper, I re-discovered my novel and the joys of reading for pleasure. I have reached out to my long neglected creative folk friends. I have decided to let go of my anxiety surrounding unemployment and to use this valuable time and energy to pursue my passion, for art, for literature, for creativity, for healing and therapy for me.