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Who is The Chronic Elephant?

ME and Chronic pain keep me bed-bound... and creating art and writing blogs keep me sane.

I blog about how to cope when pain is bad, what it feels like to receive well meant advice ( don't do it people!), how to keep your faith when you don't get better, explorations into planet Gluten Free, and how to avoid steering your disability scooter through something the dog owner should have bagged and binned..
The images posted on here are of me reclaiming my life and living it one tiny bit at a time. You can see art works inspired by my everyday life, about coping with life in bed, and images of flowers, plants, imaginary worlds, my faith and my felt tips.

You will also find my mumblings- writings, thoughts and blog entries, about being me and about having ME!

I have been writing blogs on ME and disability for the last year using 'the elephant' avatar and name. It started as a joke...(I am not likely to be wandering 'back to the jungle' anytime soon)....but I think the l…

The History of Elephant Art - Part 4, Denial Isn't Just a River in Egypt

Dorset 2013,

2013 was a huge year for me:Ms Elephant very happily became Mrs, I got Confirmed, was the year The Pain started. 

 Here I am (above) trying to use a standing desk to paint , after some weeks of being in constant pain. I was unable to sit at all and standing was really painful. Sleeping was tough too...

I had a history of chronic pain in other areas...and had been a visitor to numerous Doctors in Italy, as I struggled with pain that wouldn't respond to pain relief. It was too scary to think this had happened again....

This time round, pain actually gave me permission to be creative.After I  was unable to work part time, I designed and got some cards printed, as well as designing the altar cloths for my local church. 

It became clear as months turned into years and I got worse, that this wasn't going away. I was on sick-leave which over time was going to turn into leaving work altogether.. I had been in denial, for some years, that ME was getting worse again..…

The History of Elephant Art Pt 3- The Elephant in the Garrett.

As a child I had dreamed of being a bohemian artist living and creating, in a bohemian garret in Paris. Well I didn't live in Paris...but as fulfilling your dreams goes, I came pretty close :-)

The story of your favourite pachyderm artist resumes in 2007. We are in Milan, Italy and I am living alone in a 5th floor appartment (with a stonking view) and spending my days bombing around on various transportation to get to my students.

 I had become a teacher of English to Italians ranging from toddlers to businessmen/women...AND at the urging of friends I had splashed out on a set of colours...the same type of crayons I have used ever since.

At the weekend I would sit in my kitchen and stare at the view across my balcony. This was the balcony where red geraniums flourished one year, and basil plants the next. It was where an Italian serenaded me, and where a friend of mine gallantly swept a pigeon corpse out into oblivion. It you have ever seen the film 'Rear Window' you will kno…

Mini Blog: Fun with CFS ( yes, really!)

As you would imagine, I make a point of reading other people's blogs and memes about the subject of ME. Some are interesting because they are really informative, some make me feel less alone on the dark days, and some give me ideas for fashion or how to deal with greasy hair ( and other tragedies). Some are written by other creative people. and some by people who make me smile. Some are just to depressing to engage with: I am able to get my misery first hand if I so wish :-)

Yesterday I was checking in with Phoenix Rising ( the forum for ME/CFS ), when my attention was drawn to this video below. It made my jaw drop. Not just because it was frighteningly accurate, but because it was audaciously funny! It was taking a grim subject ( Doctors being ill informed/unsupportive/neglegent of the care of ME patients), but did it in a way that hammered the point home with chuckles.

Her channel on Youtube is Fun with CFS..and she is witty, sassy and deserves to be listened to...and not just by …

Wrestling With the Rainbow....

I have just finished this piece, which is inspired by a 2 week stay as an inpatient at Burrswood  Christian Hospital in May 2016. I was full of excitement and apprehension during my time there..( I was on something of a high having survived a difficult journey)...but when I came home and back to the realities of long term illness, I felt intensely disappointed to still be ill, and this manifested in being  peed off with God and Doctors! It is always difficult when something has raised desperate hopes....and you start blaming yourself for having had any hope at all.

I have always loved rainbows and the idea of doing a painting of one came to me when I returned home.The rainbow is significant in Christianity : it is a symbol of God's promise to Moses that he would not flood the earth again...and it is God's  promise to us to keep our heads above water. I felt as if that promise was broken...

 June led into July and August...and the year stuttered on, and my feet felt decidedly …

History of (Elephant ) Art - Pt 2- The Art of..No Art

....Having seen the mini-me art obsessive morph from enthusiastic drawing machine ...into confused art student, we rejoin her in 1991.

 I had struggled with leaving college, and finding enough work to live off...and the limitations of working from some pretty uninspiring art directors.  My bread and butter work was trade magazines- nursing times, Business Weekly etc, but I did get some more interesting work from Radio Times, The Observer and The Times, as well as a couple of book covers.

After the self indulgence of college ( where we typically had a week to complete a piece of work), I was now in the world of commerce, where a phone call often arrived at midday commissioning a piece that would need to be completed by the following day. I was given some pretty crappy ideas ( the nursing 'Birth of Adam is below), but a particular low point was being commissioned to do  an illustration about the spread of Aids The art director instructed me to 'make it fun.' and draw comedy ho…

History of (Elephant ) Art - Pt 1 The Art of Growing Up

I am feeling somewhat red in the face...and it's not a hot flush ( for a change). This blog is subtitled as being about 'Art, Life and ME'  and you have heard me wittering about my medical ailments, I have introduced ME as the Diva in my life, chucking plates because the M&M's are not the colour she ordered. I have talked about life with disability: it's adaptions to this 'new normal'...and the things that help me to find peace and joy.

I am embarrassed to say that I have neglected to write much about the nuts and bolts of  me as an here goes...a whistle-stop tour to give you a flavour of the history and evolution of my art from pint-sized pachyderm to ...the (slightly) more wrinkled and definitely happier heffalump of today.  

So let's start with the tiny me, chubby crayon in chubby fist tongue slipping out in concentration. I cannot remember a time when I didn't draw. There was always a huge pile of scrap paper I wou…