With retirement looming it’s been really nice to have quite a lot of interest in my artwork (from around the world); having been a freelance artist for about 35 years I’ve always known I would never starve as long as I can use a pencil. Although I’m hoping (at some point) to upload all of my artwork here on my website much of my new art (for now) goes directly onto my Twitter account because of the ‘Arty’ connections on there. If you’re one of my Arty-type readers and want to see new art as it happens please feel free to join me on Twitter @AlanDDixon (or just type in Spailpinfanac into the Twitter browser). Meanwhile here’s a few pix to brighten your day x
A few new readers asked if I would republish my memoirs of life in a children’s home and through foster care. I had taken them off to do a sort of final edit but have put them back on line because of the recent interest. There are four chapters which detail the breakdown of my family, life in a children’s home and my subsequent move into foster care. They were difficult memoirs to write and there have been times when I’ve questioned why I wrote them. I think initially, as a displaced child, I had a great need to make some sort of sense of my life and put things in their proper place. Having worked in the social care profession for 25 years I now know how important life story work is and how healing it can be. I think I somehow had the idea too that my writings might be helpful to others brought up in similar situations and be a catalyst giving them courage to face their own demons, although I afterwards felt that to be patronising and arrogant.
These days it isn’t unusual to see dozens of books on sale written by people who have had dreadfully abusive childhoods and it’s very easy to become cynical or fed up with hearing people bleating on – and I can equate with that. Readers of this post (or those who read my memoirs) are very welcome to express whatever they feel about my writings; I’m a big boy now, far removed from the vulnerable little man in the photograph. I’m also incredibly strong mentally; probably due in part to having the balls to stare pain straight in the eye because if I’ve learned anything I know that’s what takes it’s power away.
ManBoy Geordie chapters 1 to 4 are here on my website and readers are very welcome to read and comment as they wish
Here’s hoping that Dads everywhere had a little acknowledgement from their children yesterday on Father’s Day. I know I spent the day thinking about my Father and some of the complexities around our relationship. I also took time out to think about my own daughters and their relationship with me. As a younger father with no role model I had great difficulty taking on the responsibilities of the role and have often openly admitted to my children that I wasn’t the best daddy at times. In those days I had a poorly paid job and so had to work as a freelance artist to supplement the income which invariably left little time to spend with my children; I also had a dreadful drink problem which years later through therapy I learned was connected to issues of my own childhood. It’s a big relief to me to know that my children now have something of an understanding of where I was at during their earlier years.
To daddy’s all around the world – notwithstanding the billions of fantastic Mums too – who because of the pressures on them don’t have as much quality time with their children as they would like, I salute you. Sometimes when I see young parents struggling to cope with the daily grind of life the role of ‘Unsung Heroes’ springs to mind but take heart; anyone who has been a parent understands and has infinite respect for you.
By the time I was 22 I had three daughters and back then money was an issue; we didn’t have any. But what we did have was love and over the years I’ve been blessed that my children have been close to me and are still so now. When they were little I was an extremely proud daddy and delighted in taking them out all in their pretty frocks with their hair in ribbons.
Of course now they are all grown and our relationships have naturally changed but the lovely thing is that at 58 I’m still Daddy, and that’s priceless.
Having lived in and visited countries where women and girls are treated dreadfully I know only too well that both me and my children are lucky to have been born in a society which respects our fairer ones; there have been times when I’ve literally grieved for the less fortunate.
Today I’m celebrating my daughters and the enrichment they have brought to my life.
Children in care, whether fostered, adopted or in children’s homes are now encouraged to do a Life Book to help them stay in touch with their roots and their culture. That wasn’t the case during my time in care and the knock on of that was six years of therapy in my forties.
Rather than explain this painting I thought I’d just let viewers make their own minds up and if it is of comfort to anyone then I’m doubly pleased. But I painted the picture during my period of therapy and it was one of many which helped me come to terms with some very painful issues. As time goes on I may upload more of the set if people enjoy them.
I guess you could say this website is my Life Book
To my wife, my three daughters, my six granddaughters, my three sisters, my women friends and colleagues, my women readers here and women and girls all around the world ‘Happy International Women’s Day 2013’ and thank you all so much for enriching my life and the lives of the men and boys in your lives. Love Alan x
My beautiful grand daughter Bubbles was attacked by a drunken 16 year old outside a bar in Newcastle last night. The creep threw her to the floor by her throat and kicked her in the ribs.
Fortunately other than shock she is fine and the person was arrested and charged. It’s a sick society we live in now and particularly so for women. Where has respect for the fairer sex gone?
You could argue that because of the lack of employment prospects for young people or the fact that they may have come from an unstable home contributes to the anger they feel inside which leads them to committing such awful acts as beating up vulnerable women. But frankly I don’t give a shit about that. Some of us have dragged ourselves up all of our lives with virtually everything going against us and haven’t sunk to those depths. And if I could get my hands on the little bastard who beat up my grand daughter they would have to jail me afterwards for what I had done.