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Toxic Waste found near Chatsworth

Blog Posted on 15 Feb 2011

This week’s been a very bizarre one and not very productive in the art department I’m afraid.

I’ve had an allergic reaction to the damp paint I’ve been using whilst renovating the new gallery. Basically my cheeks swelled up to the size of watermelons and I looked like an Oriental lady. Not in an attractive way I may add. More like a character from Little Britain? I’ve had a terrible dose of sinusitis, have felt very spaced out and not felt like painting at all. Sneezing and slitty eyes is NOT conducive to creating art masterpieces.

I spent the first half of the week at home trying to update my website, not an easy task at the best of times when you’re a computer illiterate, never mind when you can’t see out of your own eyes. When I did get into work on Thursday I was greeted with this.  


I first thought Willy Wonker had arrived on his tour of the Peak District and had filled the Mill Race with mint flavoured sugar syrup? Then my heart stopped and I gasped - toxic waste and we were all going to die (I do tend to be a drama queen) Oh my gosh what to do?

That’s when I saw the workmen.

I dumped my bags and went stomping over to them shouting what the heck they thought they were doing and did they not care about the wildlife? They should be ashamed of themselves, poisoning the fish and I was going to report them to the police. I then started flapping my arms like a mad woman trying to shoo the ducks out of the water for fear they would sprout 3 heads and start barking like hyenas.

It actually turned out the men were from the water board and were putting a harmless trace in the water to find the source of a leak. They could have said BEFORE I did my hysterical female on crack dance routine don’t you think?

I eased myself back into painting with a montage of 2 different photos of Villager Jim’s. I’m going to call it “Black and White” or something of that ilk – maybe when my head’s a bit clearer I’ll come up with something a little more imaginative. These beautiful cows actually live a couple of miles from each other. One’s from Wardlow and the other’s from Monsal Dale but I’m putting the 2 together to make them look like they’ve been cow friends for ages (ssssh don’t tell anyone – it’s called “artistic license” dahlings) I also thought I'd pay homage to the toxic waste and have a green background.


It’s taken me longer than normal because of the sinus thing, so I’ll show you the painting in a few days when it’s finished. When you’re not feeling your best you do question if a painting is actually working or not? I seem to lose all confidence in myself if I’m not feeling a 100%.

It didn’t help matters when yesterday a chap had been staring thoughtfully at the black cow, whilst I was trying to paint it. (All the while I was making disgusting squelshy noises out of my nose, sniffing and sneezing into my hanky - super) He stayed quiet for about 10 minutes not saying anything and it was most unsettling. I tried to make conversation and he just smiled but stayed schtum for what seemed like 3 days to me.  I stopped to change tissues and turned round to tell him I was having a break (it’s difficult to delicately blowing your nose when someone’s watching you). I was very self conscious he thought it was rubbish as he didn’t ask the usual questions customers ask when they’re watching me paint for such a long time.


“How long will it take, when did you start it, where did you train, when will you finish it, are you the artist (really??? You’ve been watching me paint for the last half an hour and you haven’t realised yet I’m the artist?)

At last he spoke.


“That cow looks like my Aunty Jean”

He turned around and walked out of the shop.

I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not?


Blog brought to you by Helen Clark

Type Of Art: Painting
Location: Caudwells Mill, Rowsley

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