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Yesterday I while doing some pastoral visiting something remarkable happened.

I go and see ‘P’ regularly he has been ill for many years and doesn’t get out much, slowly one by one he has been unable to do the things which he always enjoyed and at my last visit we had a conversation about his latest plan.  He was going to take up painting.  I laughed and then had to explain that I wasn’t laughing because I thought he shouldn’t and wouldn’t be any good, but because I had recently had a similar idea.  I passed on the advice I had been given, use arcylics, they are more forgiving for a newbie and we laughed as I told him of my many disasters.  When I left I told him not to be put off by me and encouraged him to give it a go as I was getting a lot of pleasure out of it, and that was what was important.  Then came the killer request, ‘I want to see your painting, can you bring some along next time?’  Ekkkk!

Yesterday was the next time.  I had taken along some paints for him to get started just in case he hadn’t managed to get any yet – which he hadn’t – so he was delighted and declared to his wife, nothing to stop me now.  At which she just smiled and imagined the kitchen in uproar as he took over the kitchen table.  Then out came my efforts, they were both very gracious about them and ‘P’ asked lots of technical questions to which my only pathetic answer was – I just put the paint on the brush.  Okay I have learnt by trial and error how to do a few tricks and that a range of brushes is good for a novice like me, but really I can’t explain how I got certain effects.  Any way, as I was putting the paintings back away they asked what I was going to do with them.

‘Errrmmmm, I don’t know’; came my reply.  ‘They will probably lay around until I get rid of them in a clear out.”

“Well in that case I want to buy that one.” he said, pointing to a painting of a lichen covered branch which was strewn with pink berries.  “Oh, yes,” chorused his wife “that is my favourite too.”

“Don’t be silly,” I retorted, “if you really like it you can have it.”

“No.” He said, very firmly, “I want to buy it and frame it and next time you come it will be hanging up on the wall.  I will be your first customer.”

“My only customer.” I laughed in reply.

There was no budging him from shoving a £20 note at me, so although I couldn’t give it away I have sold a painting, never thought I would ever say that.

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