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Thought for the day – reflection on the year


This morning I opened the post to my new 2024 calendar.

My 2023 calendar is on its last legs…   and I’m in tears.

The December photograph is displayed with a group of elves smiling and waving at me from the confines of a snowglobe, happily wishing me a Merry Christmas… but there is a story from each of their lives and some aren’t here any longer to continue it.

The Hospice of St Francis is local to me, and I got to know many of the models in this fund-raising calendar.  My small contribution was to paint the faces and bodies of some of them.  Oddly, I borrowed a witch’s hat and green velvet cloak from another which I proudly wore this Halloween – but I can’t return it as she has gone too…

My friend and photographer Carl Brady from Big Stick Photography spent many weeks liaising with the organisers, arranging the shoots, borrowing motorbikes and props, taking the photos, editing them all plus setting up a fantastic exhibition – all for no payment.

The result is simply beautiful and thought-provoking.

My message to face painters is to spare a thought for the organisers of these charities, be patient with the number of requests we get every year to paint for free, compose a kind and empathic response to each, and consider backing one or two charities every year for a cause close to your heart.

In the meantime, I will now pin up my next calendar, Breast Cancer Support Gibraltar, and be immensely grateful for each month I enjoy of my own health and that I am able to paint gorgeous faces for a living.

Thank you to BBW (Bath Bodyart Weekend) Helen Eyre, Clemency Bedford and Sophie Clift for the stunning body painting they created for this calendar and I hope the money raised will support more poorly bodies going forward.

In a couple of weeks I will take down the old calendar and bring in the new.