When the world as I know it stops with any shock – like an accident, a death, a loss… a pandemic (!) – my process, it seems, is the same.

After the initial numbness and/or kicking and screaming inside, I go through a phase where I feel compelled to act. This is the ‘adrenalin-fuelled’ stage. The event itself often provides the means at first: like a funeral to arrange, the decisions to make, news to communicate. It’s more reaction than action based, but the ‘doing’ helps me cope with whatever has changed. Eventually though, what needs doing is done, and I’m left with the void.

Perhaps I try to fill it. To survive. I’ve done this many times. At least with age, I’ve learned to choose healthier ways. Last year it was my C-19 iPad project and my SALchemy.uk print venture that took centre stage. Both came from a heart place. They helped. Until my efforts to build a safety net wore me out, and some problems with my eyes forced me to pause this May. Then, I remembered that my truest friend is not always action, but time. I had to sit with dread until enough space and quiet washed through and it began to dissipate.

Its shadow is not gone yet. And maybe it will never fully disappear, because surely, a little of all experience becomes a layer of history that shapes our being. It’s the 10th anniversary of my mum’s death today, and I still feel echoes of that pain. It does soften and transform though, as do I 🌻

Now, after 18 months of feeling displaced (aka wrenched!) from my previous way of life, and somewhat floundering in the present, I’ve looked myself in the eye and said, ‘Hello again!’ My energy has changed. There’s more clarity. Possibilities. Expansion. I’m starting to regenerate. With that comes the desire to paint in my favourite, expressionist way.

Hello again! reflects the best of what’s happening inside me SAL this summer, but also celebrates our collective tentative return in 2021 to reuniting, meeting, arriving.

May it transmit joy.

I think my mum, Judy Townsend, herself a great creative spirit, who started me on my painting journey in 2011, would be happy that I’m posting this today.


Hello again!’ by SAL 2021
Mixed media (acrylic, mum’s gold FIMO powder mixed with PVA, and Inktense pencil) on stretched canvas
, 40x50cm.

The camera and our devices can’t quite convey the joyful ‘lightness’ of this painting, but here is a second detail and the whole painting in its white frame:

Detail 'Hello again!' SAL
'Hello again!' SAL framed painting

My mum (1937 – 2011) , always my inspiration to live and paint with authenticity:

My mum and me SAL, Pembrokeshire Wales 2009
My mum and me, Pembrokeshire Wales 2009
SALchemy logo 2021
© SAL, 2021