Little steps

Today was the first full day where I left Amelia with our lovely friend Ms. L and her little girl (who is Amelia’s age) along with another friend’s toddler to be looked after for the day. This is going to be an ongoing once-a-week formal arrangement for another few months until Ms. L is too far along in her pregnancy to cope with a house full of toddlers. I am pleased to have a free day for dedicating to my work as I have a show booked for early March and as yet nothing to exhibit.

We have been spending a bit of time over at Ms. L’s place over the last few weeks in a kind of “orientation” way. I even managed to dash home for a couple of hours and do two loads of washing one week, leaving a weeping little girl behind. Of course, she was fine after 3 minutes but there is nothing worse than hearing your little child sobbing “Mum-Mummmm!” from behind a closed door as you rush away wiping away tears of your own.

Today I dropped her off around 9.30 and she immediately took prime position on the couch ready to watch Playschool and started happily sorting through a handbag full of play money. I told her that I was going, and to remember to ask Ms. L if she needed anything. “I don’t need anything Mum-Mum.” She replied as if I was a bit odd. I was being a bit odd. I felt quite awful leaving her there. Ms. L and the two other little girls came to wave me off at the door but Amelia was happy to keep her seat. I am grateful there were no tears but I still felt totally strung-out as I drove home.

So, what did I do with my first day? Well, I went in to see the Munch exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Research and inspiration of course. A totally legit way to spend a work day…

We have such ready access to art now on TV, in books and magazines and on the web, it’s easy to forget what an incredible impact real art, painted on canvases, hanging on the walls of a gallery has when you are actually standing in front of it. The exhibition is only on for another week or so but it is really worth catching before it goes. Amazing intensity, beautiful colour and rhythm.

I only had a couple of moments where the “I hope she’s doing ok” terrors overcame me, one was in front of a traumatic drawing of a alarmingly distressed little figure called “the abandoned child” which was really a bit much. It’s a good thing there was no service for my mobile phone in the gallery or Ms. L would have been receiving some irritating phone calls.

Coming home to do some of my own work is always quite difficult after spending time with real art that breathes and heaves with great weight but I have managed to make some progress with my first piece.

And I picked up Amelia at 4pm and she had apparently had a wonderful day. No crying, no fighting, big sleeps and a Wiggles video and some Smarties which seem to have been the highlight.