The Call of the Wild

Sunshine is here. Flowers are opening. Bees and butterflies swerve and flutter. How can I paint?

There are also beautiful yellow crab spiders.

April is a transformative month. It’s also the month my father died.

Whether I am conscious of it or not, I seem to spend the anniversary of my fathers death pushing my middle aged body to make big structural changes in my garden. This year was no exception. I now have a raised bed and 2 steps. When I look at what I have done, I think of him, and how he probably would have been amused by, and enjoyed, my hotch-potch, DIY garden.

Moving focus away from painting is disconcerting, even a little stressful. Yet, I know stepping away can be as important as remaining present sometimes. Breaks nearly always precede a leap forward.

I’m looking forward to it.

Courage, Dear Heart

Me and dad at Bournemouth Pier in 1995

Me and Dad on Bournemouth Pier in 1992


My Dad was an exceptional man, speaking of him in the past tense feels very strange.

My parents’ marriage broke down when I was 5, before my father became a ‘film star’.  Our lives moved far apart; I was living a relatively normal life in Devon and he was attending premiers around the world and making films in exotic locations. Visiting him, I often felt like ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, an ordinary girl briefly entering his extraordinary world.  Even so, I always knew that my father was proud of me; he came to my exhibitions, and filled his home with my paintings

Being the daughter of someone as famous as my Dad can often be surreal and bizarre.  To walk down the street and see your Dad’s face plastered across the side of a bus is a weird experience I can tell you! Plus, nobody wants to see their dad having sex or being killed, but I often had to experience it in his films, sometimes at the same time! There is a scene in ‘The Secret Agent‘ that makes me very uncomfortable indeed.

My experience has been that death has the power to dispel all that comes between us.  I tried to see Dad as often as I could at the end. In the last days that I spent with him, I held his hand, said I loved him, and told him he was the best.  I know this made us both happy.  These moments I treasure, and I wish I had more of them.

I am immensely proud of everything that my Dad achieved.  He was an incredible force, powering his way through life, wielding his charisma and charm.  When I use certain phrases like ‘it’s all going wonderfully well’, or I catch my face in an expression that reminds me that I am my father’s daughter, I feel he is with me.

I awoke the morning after he died, and realised that this is the first day of the rest of our lives without him in it.  It is hard to accept that we won’t see him, give him a hug, or make him smile again.

This morning I heard Dad’s voice in a C.S. Lewis quote. I sent it to my brothers, Alex and Jack, and my sister Rosa, so that they might hear it too.

“Courage, dear heart”