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Sometimes in life all of the pieces fit into place and this has been the case for me in the last few years living in Whitstable, Kent, UK.
I have been hooked on the sky since I was very small. My two elder brothers were obsessed with flying. Both were born just before WW2 and with my father away in the Royal Air Force their obsession was not surprising. The war ended and the following year I came along and was introduced to the sky by these two lovely boys who would take me along to all the local air displays. A vivid early memory is sitting on a hillside on a sunny summer day with small, noisy jet planes zinging past. Thrilling indeed. So days spent looking at the sky were part of my training as a little sister and the sky became associated with happiness and pleasure on many levels.
Whether I have lived in the city or the countryside the sky has been a marvel to me. Ever changing and producing colours, forms, textures like nothing else on this planet. Dynamic, chaotic or utterly calm it is a 24 hour movie happening over our heads. Painterly abstract impressionism ranging from the palest pastel shades of day to the deepest velvet shades of night. It nourishes me and lifts my spirits. Often in the streets I see people with their eyes cast down to the grey pavements, looking lost in gloomy thoughts, whilst above them the sky is sending them joy and beauty. I want to stop them and say "look up my friend, the sky is calling to you, listen, can't you hear it?"
In 1990 I moved to a house on a hill in a village in Sussex with my 10 year old son. Happy hours were spent sitting side by side, in a room on the first floor, watching lightning storms lighting up the village. The thunder clouds rolling over the hills, crashing and roaring with awesome menace and grandeur. At an age when heavy metal music was his taste, it thrilled him and connected him with the elemental world around him.
Recently I found a black and white photo, taken when I was 10 years old, from the first reel of film on my first camera. It is a photo of the sky, no buildings, no people, no landscape. In Sussex in the 1990s I took hundreds of sky photos. High on the hill the view of the sky was undisturbed and often mesmerising, in this era before digital cameras this was an expensive hobby. It was here that I enrolled in local adult education classes to study oil painting, which would lead me on to University to study for a Fine Art degree, when my son had finished his education and left home. My studies led me to KIAD, Canterbury, Kent and a country home where again hundreds of sky photos were taken, the prints sometimes made into installations in my studio space. It was after I graduated in 2001 and moved to the coastal town of Whitstable that I began to walk by the seashore and discovered that seagulls are the masters of the sky.