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AnneLawsonArt My art work

‘Between Worlds’

“Between Worlds”. That’s the title of my exhibition in Kyneton, at the Old Auction House.

If you read my newsletter* you will know that I have been offered an extension to the exhibition dates. That was such a nice surprise (although not for the artist who was unable to mount theirs after mine). In Melbourne we are back in lockdown, so visiting is out of the question. I felt that maybe my collages would be locked away in the gallery for the time.

It is now running until September 13th at

The Old Auction House

52 ~ 56 Mollison St

Kyneton

Surely in that time this current lockdown will be lifted so that I can get to see it, along with lots of other Melburnians too of course. It is already open for those of you living in regional Victoria. I was delighted to come across this on the Visit Macedon Ranges website.

A taste of some of the collages in the exhibition. These are all in the Reeds series, inspired by my local wetlands.

Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #3 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #3 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #1 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #1 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #4 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #6 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #6 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021

* If you are interested in finding out more detail of my art practice, my newsletter is the thing to read. I publish it monthly, although at the moment, with the two exhibitions on the go, it has been a little more frequent. People tell me that they really enjoy reading it, which is always heartening to hear.


My blog looks different now. You may remember me bemoaning that I couldn’t type/edit/publish posts on WordPress on my laptop. That page was just blank. Advice was to change the theme, so I have, and it worked. I am happily typing with my fingers rather than my thumbs on the WP app on my phone. Bonus is that I quite like the clarity of this theme.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

My collage paintings

Firstly, big virtual hugs and kisses to you all, for letting me know that you are thinking of me. You make blogging and connecting a joy. I am doing well, with only a little stiffness, and my energy levels are okay. I have even been making lists, a sure sign that I am getting back to normal.

Secondly, my art work.

I can’t remember what I have told you, so let’s go back a little.

I did an online course with Tara Axford during our first lockdown last year, maybe in April? One of the many things I learnt and loved was collaging. The loving part was a very nice surprise. In our second Melbourne lockdown we could only leave home for 4 reasons; one was exercise within a 5km radius. I spent a lot of time down at my local urban wetlands and the reeds and reflections fascinated me.

Collaging and wetlands came together.

Then I found out I had been accepted to have an exhibition at the Old Auction House in Kyneton. How exciting it that! August is still a way off, but it seems to be approaching at a rather quick pace. I am building up a body of collages to exhibit.

So far I have worked on two series.

The first is of the wetlands. Some are abstract reinterpretations.

Some are more realistic.

Then I decided to switch my focus to rock pools.

Over Christmas I was lucky enough to spend time at my sister’s beach house at Somers. Somers beach has the most amazing rock pools, with colours that took my breath away. And just happened to be the colours I have been using. How could I not be smitten by something like this?

Most of the time I can tell whether the collage has worked or not. There is something that makes me smile and feel satisfied. I don’t get that feeling from the rock pools I have done so far.

The last one is the only one that resonates. For me the first two are neither realistic nor abstract enough, neither one nor the other. I would love to know what you think.

I am not giving up on the rock pools. I need to loosen up, to let go of the detail until the last; not try to recreate them as they are, instead let the paint and shapes tell me what to do.

As for the painting, all of these have been ‘painted’ with an old credit card, which I use to scrape the paint across the paper. There is little control, but wonderful effects. Then I cut out the shapes that I see in the paint. Simple and works for me!

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AnneLawsonArt My art work Uncategorized

Resuming transmission, I hope

I have been a very poor correspondent over the last few months. If it wasn’t for the SAL deadlines, I wouldn’t have been posting at all. And a couple of those posts were rather skimpy. However, I have a good excuse…..

Early in December my neck and hips started to feel very stiff and sore, and then it got worse over the month. Not really painful, but doing simple things, like turning over in bed, bending over, sitting down, were really difficult. It was worse in the morning.

Eventually, after expecting it to go away, and throwing Christmas and New Year into the time mix, I had blood tests which showed high levels of inflammation. My GP was really supportive, and started me on medication that helped, almost overnight.

This week I saw a rheumatologist, who diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica. It is an inflammatory condition which, fortunately, is treatable. It may take time but the medication should get the immune system and inflammation under control. So, good news!

The best way to describe it to you is to say that many, many, moons ago I went rock climbing with my brother. Oh boy, were my thigh muscles stiff over the next few days! I remember how difficult it was to climb the stairs at work, and at one stage had to go up backwards. My legs just didn’t want to work. Through December my muscles seemed to be saying, “Nup, we’re not moving.” They were stiff and sore. Trying to make them move was a little painful, but overall the pain level was quite low.

I mention this because I know there are many people, including some of you, who suffer high levels of pain over months and years. What I have experienced has not been at that level, but it has given me more insight into how difficult life can be for many. I applaud you for your courage and resilience.

Getting the diagnosis confirmed how important it is to have someone say “This is what you have, this is how we can deal with it”. Before the diagnosis there were a number of possibilities which I brooded on, playing out scenarios in my mind, having imaginary conversations, scrolling through websites and Youtube videos. None of that was helpful. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I was impatient to know. My mind tried to come up with its own solutions, but all it was doing was being a hamster on a wheel. However, now I know which way I am facing I know which direction to go in.

It is a relief to get out of my own head!

There seem to be many chronic conditions that are difficult to pin down. And that’s assuming you have a supportive medical professionals who believe you. And access to specialists and the various tests needed. So again, I really feel for people who have had to fight to get the correct diagnosis, people who have not only had to deal with what their own bodies are throwing at them but battling to be heard by others.

I am grateful for so many reasons.

Now, to end on a different note. Even when I was chatting to you on a more regular basis, I hadn’t mentioned much about my art. I am going to leave you with a gallery of my collages, with the promise that soon I will tell you more about them. However, if you can’t wait for that post sometime in the future, you can sign up for my newsletter. This weekend I am going to write about how my collages are rather like jigsaw puzzles. [You can sign up here.]

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AnneLawsonArt My art work SAL

SAL

Another three weeks, another SAL, another “Postcard from liminal time”.

What a washed out photo…the backing cloth is actually a sage green, and the threads more vibrant.

As you can see I tore up a watercolour painting of a leaf. The leaf was quite curved, and I think this is why it didn’t work as a painting.

As the original painting was a single leaf I tore out around that shape, which left me with white edges around each shape. The other postcards, like this one, were larger shapes, in this case a shell, torn into smaller pieces. It wasn’t until I was into the work that the obvious white struck me. Tearing paper is always going to leave some white, but this is too much to my eye. I tried to break it up with the extra cross stitches, but I wasn’t happy with it.

So, it’s not my favourite postcard, but it taught me more about which painting to choose.

There are five in the series so far. Looking at them together for the first time I can see that they are vertical, with the exception of the eggplant, the first. Maybe the next one will be more horizontal.

This Stitch-A-Long post is organised by Avis. We are a group of stitchers who post every three weeks to show what personal stitching we have done. The variety of works is amazing, and the quality is always top notch. Use the links below to see their work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

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AnneLawsonArt My art work Texture

SAL

I have finished another similar work, so these SAL posts are more about the series of them, rather than an individual piece. I seem to be able to finish them within the three weeks of SALs.

When a name for the series popped into my head it struck me that these works are becoming a serious series. So, they are part of the series…..

Postcards from Liminal Time.

(Curious about liminal time? I wrote my thoughts about it in an earlier post.)

This latest one is the same size as the others ~ 12 x 17 cm ~ a little bigger than a postcard. It also follows the same ideas of being uncertain about the future, that my art is changing without a clear idea of where I will be. There is also the theme of emerging/disappearing, covered/uncovered and impermanence.

You can see that I have torn up a watercolour of my favourite melaleuca trees. When I painted it I was experimenting with creating forests. This was one of the early attempts, that didn’t quite work.

I worked quite hard on this embroidery. For some reason it didn’t flow, especially the top part, the red couched threads. I think it got there in the end. I am not really happy with the the tree on the right ~ or more specifically the band of rust/yellow stitching that runs across it. It is too dense for the paper, too definite. I couldn’t unpick it, because of course the needle holes would still be there. The best I could do was distract the eye with more stitching, without making the same mistake of the stitching being too dense.

What I do like, and this was unplanned, is the notion that the top part is a little like the tree canopy and the bottom grasses and undergrowth.

I am part of a group of stitchers who share their personal stitching work every three weeks. Go and have a look at the wonderful work that is being done all around the world. Everyone is doing something very different, but always interesting.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

Reflecting on July

I like to do a reflection at the end of each month, thinking about what I have achieved. Most months there are about 8 to 10 things that I look back on as worth celebrating. In July I had 3:

  • I helped see the Fella through a difficult time in hospital, so that now he is well and getting on with things.
  • I helped my Mum recuperate from her pneumonia. She is now in rehab, and while frail, is much better within herself.
  • I got ready for my first solo exhibition.

So, only three, but what mighty big achievements they were! No wonder there has been little time for anything else. And no wonder I am well over hospitals.

The other day I took my paintings up to the Old Auction House in Kyneton. There are 20 of works, all trees in some form. You know of my fascination, some may say obsession, with trees. This is some of them laid out, ready to be packed up for travel. (The orange labels are my cataloguing process, and are removable.)

Tree paintings

A selection of some of the individual trees.

and the Tangled Trees series ~ watercolour and then embellished with machine sewing.

Then there are some others.

I thought you might like to read my statement that will hang with the paintings.

Trees have always been a part of me. My grandfather worked in the forests of the Dandenong Ranges and Dad took us camping in the bush, off the beaten track. I remember learning the word ‘silhouette’ when Mum pointed out the shapes of the trees outlined against the sunset.

It was during an artist in residence at Mountain Seas Resort on Flinders Island that I first noticed the shapes of the melaleucas and their wonderfully twisted trunks. I was further inspired by a trip across the Nullarbor Plain, where the trees glistened and swayed. A recent artist in residence at Police Point in Portsea, organised by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, opened my eyes to the coastal moonah habitat. 

It is the shapes and rhythms of the canopies and the twisted branches and trunks that inspire me. I have explored them with many different media ~ watercolours, oil pastels, ink, sometimes embellishing the watercolours with machine sewing. I have created tapestries of trees and landscapes. 

In this exhibition there are individual trees and dense, tangled thickets of trees. No matter what the medium with each work I want to capture the feeling of air moving through the branches and then contrast the twisted trunks. There is a joyous freedom in exploring these ideas.

As well, each piece is a reminder of precious, fragile habitats that need us to treasure and protect.

The details of the exhibition:

8th August to 2nd September

The Old Auction House 

Mollison St

Kyneton, Victoria

 

So July has gone and August has many things to look forward too, especially being able to take Mum to Kyneton to see my work hanging. What are you looking forward to?

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If you would like to know more about my art, sign up for my fortnightly letter from my studio. 

(If there are any glitches with this sign up form, please let me know….I am wondering whether it works as it should.)

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

My first week at Police Point

Yes, the first week has flown by.

There were a couple of hiccups, such as me stuffing up the dates yet again but they only little hicks. Now I am settling into a creative routine, which I will talk to you about soon. First let me give you a tour of my domain.

My little cottage is in Police Point, a park managed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, who run this amazing residency programme. It has four rooms off the central hall ~ two bedrooms, a lounge and the kitchen. An addition out the back is a sitting room, the utilities, and my studio. It’s very snug, which is necessary as it’s Winter, and comfortable.

However, the studio is the best! It is spacious, and has big windows that let in the Winter sunlight, and let me look out across the green expanse to Port Philip Bay. I could sit here all day, just looking at the changing light, watching the clouds scamper across the sky, seeing the sea sparkle and turn silver, and work out the time from the ferries that go between Sorrento and Queenscliff.

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But I don’t just sit and watch…I have been working!

Police Point Park abuts the Point Nepean National Park, so there are lots of walks. And lots of interesting shaped trees. I thought I would be captivated by them from the get-go, but it is the cliff faces that have caught my attention. I will come back to the vegetation, because I have the luxury of three more weeks down here. But this week I have been exploring the gnarly, striated rocks of the cliff below Police Point. Rocks like these:

 

I thought I had a little understanding of the geology of these rocks until I came to write it down for you. Trying to explain it made me realise that I understand very little! However, I do know how the knobbly ones are formed. The sand was cemented by calcium carbonate and other minerals in the ground water. The water seeps down through the soil, perhaps along the pathways of plant roots, and precipitated the calcium carbonate to form hard rock ~ calcrete rock. The calcrete remains as the rest of the rock is eroded. The bumps and spikes are the calcrete and the holes and crevasses are formed by erosion.

I loved this rock on the waterline. I wonder how long before it gets eroded right away.

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So I have explored the beaches and the cliff faces, wandering, photographing and sketching. It’s made me think about weathering and time, and layers ~ layers of sediment, of human history, of vegetation.

Back in the studio I have set myself the task of producing something every day. I have been working on small studies of the rocks. They are only A5 size.

Study #1 was simply a first draft, and it told me not to rush, not to assume I understood what I was doing.

With Study #2 I felt confident enough to add embellishment from the sewing machine. I had learnt some things, but still not enough to capture what I was seeing in my mind. But there are a couple of good things about being here. Firstly, there is tomorrow to do it again. At home tomorrow would be filled with other things. Here tomorrow is filled with working in the studio.

Secondly there is time to reflect about the works, to think about why it’s not working.

With this study I realised that I had missed the sense of edges, of layers of rock, rather than frills. I quite liked the sewing, but it was taking things off in a different direction.

20190606_222329

Study #3 was more thoughtful, and I was happier with the edges. I think you could imagine feeling your way under them.

20190607_220345

But the sense of ‘rockness’ was still missing. I realised that it was lacking context, and drama. Friend’s comments on Facebook and Instagram confirmed what I was thinking.  So I looked at different rocks and came up with Study #4. Certainly dramatic!

20190608_164549

I had thought of putting in the background to give more context, but I don’t think I will.

And today I was fired up with confidence to create Study #5.

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With this one I have gone back to my default position of going straight to the detail. There is too much, especially at the top. To my eye it looks like a fancy old fashioned hat on top! Tomorrow I will give it another go and axe the hat!

It has been a week of settling in, of finding new routines and rhythms. Most importantly it has been a week of carefree and joyful creating in a very beautiful environment.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

‘Uncoloured’ Exhibition in Kyneton

Kyneton is a pretty, regional town in Central Victoria, an old gold mining area. It is also the home of the Old Auction House, which is hosting a group exhibition I am involved in. It is called ‘Uncoloured’, and you will not be surprised to know that the works are all black and white.

There will be 7 of us exhibiting.

Print

I love the little glimpses of art on this flier, little teasers!

I will show you the seven feathers I am exhibiting. You will have already seen them if you get the letter from my studio. And if you don’t get the letter, why don’t you sign up, so that you can hear about the things happening in my artistic world?

I decided that pairs of feathers would be a good idea. So two guinea fowl feathers from my latest playing with ink and masking fluid.

Two tatty feathers, created with ink pens.

Two feathers with the fine lines drawn in ink. (They are created on the same type of  paper, despite one looking grey. That’s my photographic skills!)

And a single, realistic feather, created in pencil.

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All works will be for sale. I hope to sell some, of course, but I am happy to be part of this. It has been just far enough outside my comfort zone to be doable, but to push me into something different for my art. I had to give myself a little nudge, not a huge shove!

I dropped the drawings into the gallery today and received further good news from the curator ~ I have been accepted into another group exhibition in May. This one is called ‘Not your usual canvas’, and my sewing on paper art works fit the bill!

So, if you are able to visit Central Victoria, check out the exhibition. Lots of lovely places for lunch too!

[Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with my work, sign up for my fortnightly letter.]

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AnneLawsonArt Odds and Ends

annelawsonart.com.au !!

Yes! I have my own website, at my own domain name:   annelawsonart.com.au 

screenshot_20180725-110031.png

(Does little dance around the room……)

I would love it if you took a look. (I’ll just continue my little dance around the room!!)

It’s still a work-in-progress. Some pages are still to be set up, some need tweaking, and I am sure there are glitches and typos. Please let me know if you find any. Typos? Links that don’t work? Sentences that are unclear? Problems with pages loading?

As you know I have been on the quest for a website for about a month. Someone wrote that every artist should have their own website that is just more than just an online showplace. It should have an online store as well. If it’s doesn’t, the website is almost useless. It helped me decide what I wanted from my site:

  • a place to showcase my art
  • a way to sell my art
  • a way to automatically link to my newsletter subscription
  • a way to blog
  • and to have control, to not be at the mercy of changing algorithms and price rises.

Last time I wrote I was wondering about sites like Shopify or Bigcommerce. These was great feedback, and useful links to follow through. Thank you. The more I delved the more I realised that sites like those were not really what I was looking for.

Firstly they are expensive, around $30 a month for the basic platform. That was a big commitment for each month, and frankly, unrealistic for me. Secondly, it’s for higher volume sales than I would be generating, and more mainstream products. Then I wasn’t sure that they would give me the ‘showcase’ space that I also wanted. Someone wrote “If you sell just a few investment pieces or special orders each month, less costly options may be better choices.”

So, that lead me further, and WordPress kept popping up. Despite having blogged on WordPress for quite a few years, I really had no idea about it. I assumed it was a big tech giant, owned, like Facebook and Google. I knew there was this ‘other’ WordPress (WP), WordPress.org, but really knew nothing about it. Maybe it was just a fancy blogging site?

I now know a lot more. (And warning, I am not a tech person, so I may well have got the wrong end of the computer stick here.) WP is the software, a content management system, created and maintained by different individuals. It’s developed by the community around WP, with volunteer testers.

To work it needs a host. For those of us using WP.com, which is is the case if you have wordpress in your domain name, the host is already provided. To be able to work on WP.org you need to select your own host.

The advantages that I could see with WP.org were:

  • Lots of sites use it. Apparently about 25% of all sites on the web use WP.org (Hands up if you already knew that!?) There is an entire industry built around it.
  • Security is very good; updates are frequent.
  • It is low cost, with free themes
  • It performs well, loads quickly and is mobile friendly.
  • You can plug in eCommerce

The disadvantages worried me a bit. I read things like “easily accessible, but some prior knowledge does help”. How much prior knowledge? Or that some knowledge of coding may be useful. (Spoiler alert….So far I haven’t needed any coding, but I am doing the easy part of the website.)

So the next step was to select the host, the server that stores my website, using WP software. Again more reading and comparing. I weighed up two hosts, Bluehost and Siteground, and decided on the latter.

It’s so hard to judge these things. It made me aware of bias in reviewing sites. Did they have affiliate links to one host? I became aware of the date of the review. A lot can change in a year. But you have to make a decision. I decided against BlueHost because they wanted an upfront payment of 3 years. As well they are owned by EIG, a company that seems renown for buying up companies and then cutting costs at the expense of performance. There is, according to some reviews, terrible support and poor loading times.

Siteground had much better reviews. It asked for a yearly upfront fee, but offered a good deal for the first 12 months. And Catherine, at Hillview Embroidery uses it too. She has been a great mentor through it all!

So, I took the plunge, signed up with Siteground, linked up with WP, and began to work on the site. But that next stage will be a post for next time.

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I would like to thank.... Kindness Odds and Ends

A quick update, and lots of good people

It’s a busy day today ~ shopping, tax time, the day to write my newsletter (in this one I will do the full reveal of the 3 trees I have sewn; don’t miss out, so sign up here), and time to work on my new WEBSITE 😄 ~ so it’s only a short post about things that have been playing around in my mind.

Yes, I have made lots of progress with the website, and am going with WordPress. Now there’s a surprise, especially to me! I will tell you a lot more about it soon, promise. Today I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. But I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Catherine from Hillview Embroidery. She set up a WordPress.org site and her detailed emails have given me a thread to follow through the decision making. Hugs to you Catherine, 😘 Have a look at her sumptuous embroidery, including her gold koala!

Now, onto other good and generous people…..

The world has been mesmerised by the rescue of the lads from the cave in Thailand. I am sure you were like me, marvelling at how many people came together to achieve that miraculous rescue, donating equipment, time, expertise. Sadly Saman Guana even gave his life.

The rescue is a glorious example of compassion, generosity, selflessness and co-operation, traits that are as much a part of humanity as competition and greed. It shows what is possible. It shows that if we took out political interests and profit we could solve climate change and other problems that beset our world.

There were so many Good People in the story of the rescue of the boys and their coach. I urge you to have a read of Jill’s blog Filosofia’s Word “Good people doing good things ~ the rescue”. She tells of so many wonderful people, but my favourite is the rice farmer. To quote Jill:

Her name is Mae Bua Chaicheun and she is a small-scale rice farmer, owning about 5 acres of land in a small village near the mountain where the boys’ soccer team was trapped in the cave.  When news broke that an entire soccer team was trapped in a cave, Chaicheun dropped everything and headed to the mountainside to help.  Chaicheun spent a week at the cave, cooking meals for the rescue workers and pitching in wherever she was needed.  But when she returned home, she found her rice fields in ruin.  The water that was being continuously pumped out from the cave during the rescue mission, along with heavy rains, had flooded the area and her rice crop was gone.

But Ms. Chaicheun is not complaining.  “When I got home the water was two feet deep, and the young plants were flooded. Children are more important than rice. We can regrow rice but we can’t regrow the children. I feel people have shown more love towards each other. There’s such a strong community spirit, people all wanting to help each other.”  What a beautiful attitude – a beautiful woman, yes?  An addendum:  the Thai king has pledged to purchase all the ruined rice crops from Ms. Chaicheun and others whose crops fell victim to the pumped waters.

My other Good Person is on the other side of the world, on a bike.

You may or may not know that I am a Tour Tragic. Last night I was up to 1:30 in awe of the cyclists in the Tour de France as they pounded their way up the steep roads of the second Alpine stage. And then they sprinted at the end!

Cyclists expect to fall and be injured. Of course they want to stay upright and try to do everything they can to stay safe, including using their excellent bike handling skills. One cyclist, Lawson Craddock, fell on the first day. Ironically his number is 13. I don’t know how superstitious he is, but he has turned the number on his back upside down!

He fractured his scapula in the fall, but got back on the bike. I can not image the pain that a fractured shoulder blade would cause, especially to a cyclist who needs to be able to push and pull on the handle bars. Craddock was easy to pick out over the next few days. He was the rider in the bright pink and lime green jersey (his team’s colours) who was always at the back of the peloton and usually riding in a lopsided way to protect his injury.

But he continued on, and lately he has been harder to spot as he works his way into the middle of the peloton.

But the courage (although some may call it unwise) that Lawson Craddock shows is not why I am writing about him. Many cyclists ride with injuries, some much worse. i am mentioning him because after his fall Craddock said that he would donate $100 for every stage he managed, and asked others to contribute. The money is to repair the Houston velodrome, damaged in a recent hurricane, the velodrome where the Texan Craddock began his cycling.

So far donations have topped $100,000, and Craddock is still in the race! I hope he makes it to Paris. There will be many cheering him on.

And now on to my newsletter. (But maybe a cup of tea first.) Click here to find out more about my latest art creations.