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Kim Edwards: Painter Printmaker

     Kim Edwards is a renowned local artist, here in Suffolk.  Kim is known for her landscapes and her skyscapes, as well as her print-works.  I am very proud to be able to count Kim as a dear personal friend and it has been wonderful to watch her build her style, her reputation and her place in the art community, here on the east coast of Suffolk, since Kim moved to the county in 2009.

     Here is an excerpt from Kim’s web site: Kim’s Web Site

    “I paint with a wide variety of mediums on canvas, board and found objects and exhibited in the North East, London and Leeds during and after my degree course. After graduation I moved to Leeds to take a riverside studio with Leeds Art Space Society, where I was given the opportunity to hold a solo show at St Paul’s Art Gallery. Whilst in Leeds I was also an active member at The Pavilion Photography Centre an organisation that provided exhibition space, open access workshops and conference facilities specifically for women. Involved with all aspects of running the gallery and associated activities I was responsible for hanging shows by Rosy Martin and Sirkka Liisa Konttinen respectively and jointly organised a number of national events such as the ‘Women in Art for Change’ Conference that hosted debates and invited eminent speakers including Griselda Pollock.

     I moved to Otley in 1992 and continued to paint with mixed media and watercolour selling work through several galleries in Yorkshire and from 2007 to 2010 joined an artist led group that run a program of quarterly shows at `The Gallery Upstairs` based in Grassington North Yorkshire. After attending a number of workshops at the Handprint Studio and attending an etching course at No6 Studio Pateley Bridge I bought a small press and now etch aluminum and make collagraphs, I recycle printing plates and also etch metal fragments to make 3D wall hung pieces.

     In November 2009 I moved to Middleton, in the Coastal District of Suffolk, an area where I once lived as a small child, since the move I have participated in the Suffolk Open Studios and have been invited to show my current etchings at the Snape Maltings Gallery.” – Kim Edwards.

      Over the years, I have learnt more about Kim’s work.  I respect how much feeling she puts into her work and I appreciate how she responds to light, shadow, movement and form; all of which feature strongly in much of Kim’s work.  In particular, I always feel moved by the sense of ‘mood’ conveyed and beautifully expressed in Kim’s work.  Her landscapes often feature a very bold skyscape; sweeping the viewer up into her work.

      Kim is both a Painter and a Printmaker.  Despite her gentle humility, Kim has been known to run an occasional workshop or a lesson on printmaking, in particular.  She will sometimes take part in the wonderful ‘Suffolk Open Studios’ season.  When she does, this would give you a chance to pop along to Kim’s home studio and to see the setting in which Kim creates her artistry.

     Excitingly, Kim is just in the throws of renovating and so she has just built a brand new studio.  This beautiful venue, at home, offers fine views over the Suffolk landscape, the comfort of a wood burning stove and kitchenette plus considerable space for Kim to work on her projects.  Kim also has ample space to take her turn to host an art group that she and some friends are developing; of which I am part.  We call our little collective ‘The Art Shack’.  The group meets monthly and the small group of members attend around other life commitments.

     “I love to sit and watch, from the warmth indoors, over the fields to see the deer who come quite close to us.” – said Kim, when I asked her about aspects of her new studio that she is enjoying.  “The veranda is going to be a great spot to sit and sketch from and the stove is making the studio so cosy that I can picture us being in here more than any other part of the property.’, she added. “I love this little bespoke window that we added to the back of the studio,’ Kim pointed to a beautifully placed window and smiles with a look of utter contentment.

     I had spent time in Kim’s former studio and I found it like walking into a little house of treasures, as Kim would always have several pieces of work in development at any one time.  She explained her processes beautifully and with the simplicity that anyone who has no idea how printmaking is achieved, can understand.  Kim always makes her work and her processes accessible to anyone who has an interest.  I look forward to seeing Kim’s work grow around her, anew, in her new studio.

    You can view Kim’s work, on her web site; but do make a point of looking at her page entitled ‘Archive’, for much of Kim’s work is featured there.  The link to Kim’s web site is below:

Kim’s Web Site

    Kim is a regular feature with her work on display at Snape Maltings Gallery, at Snape, here in Suffolk.  In 2016, I attended an exhibition of Kim’s work, at the highly renowned Snape Maltings Gallery.  Kim usually has a couple of pieces on display, for sale, but this was a broader exhibition of Kim’s work.  The exhibition ran from February 13th 2016 to 20th March 2016.  It was a beautiful exhibition and there was much interest in Kim’s work.  Kim has since exhibited in many venues around the county and her reputation is growing all the time.

    Here are some photos from the 2016 launch event, at Snape Maltings Gallery:

    Prior to this, back in 2012, Kim was honoured to be invited to exhibit at The Royal Academy of Arts, in London.  This was an incredibly prestigious landmark, as any artist will appreciate and just further evidences the broad reach and appeal of Kim’s work.

You can learn more about the Royal Academy of Arts at the following link:

Royal Academy of Arts Web Site

     In her spare time, Kim enjoys horses; she and her partner have two horses and these have become a passion , alongside the art.   Kim openly admits to feeling very nervous on the occasion of any private showing or launch event of her art work but, it has to be said, Kim makes a charming host, she is incredibly informative and delightfully open about her approach to her work.

     Locally, Kim is an enthusiast of the work of Harry Becker and she most recently exhibited at Blythburgh Church, over summer, where the latest ‘Inspired by Becker’ exhibition was held.  This is a regular feature in the local calendar and attracts a great deal of interest; with visitors coming from far and wide to see the exhibits.

    If you would like to learn more about Kim and her work, do visit her website using the links above and why not drop Kim a message?  I know that she will be delighted to speak with anyone who has an interest in her broad range of work.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2016 and updated 2019.

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Insecurity is something that can have a very deep and significant impact upon a person.  There are many schools of thought on what causes insecurity and on how to overcome it.  This is certainly an issue that people bring to me, as their Counsellor or Psychotherapist.  Sometimes, they come to see me specifically for that.  Mostly, however, people come to see me for another problem and, as therapy progresses, we uncover insecurity as the underlying factor in the problem they have brought to me.

I am by no means a leading expert on the subject, but I do have a lot of success in helping people overcome their base insecurity.  My own thoughts on the subject are that insecurity is almost always rooted in what, in my field, we would consider to be an ‘attachment’ issue.  I would recommend that readers of this Blog post familiarise themselves with the work of John Bowlby (1907-1990); a British Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst.  Bowlby led on the development of theoretical models of ‘Attachment’ and he is renowned for his work in developing a therapeutic model.

Bowlby’s work focused heavily on the impact of the absence (whether physical absence or absence of presence in relational connection; for example being absent due to being intoxicated, ill or in some way emotionally unavailable) of a Primary Care-Giver (usually a Parent figure) on the young and developing child.   This absence being something that not only causes distress in the child but also contributes to their sense of self-worth.  They grow up without the basic validation we all need.

As we grow into adulthood, now more than ever, we are faced with a society where image is marketed to us in very specific ways; ways that we may often feel we fall short of achieving, resulting in further low self-esteem.

The way we relate to ourselves may become increasingly negative.  Our beliefs may be formed on the basis that our Parent or Primary Care-Giver didn’t value us; so we must be unworthy, that we in some way fail to live up to the expectations or standards that society presents to us as being valuable and of worth; so we go on to develop an inner-voice that becomes increasingly self-critical and potentially destructive.  Ultimately, we form a deeply held belief that we are in many ways ‘less than’, ‘a failure’, ‘unlikeable’, ‘unattractive’ and ultimately that we will be ‘rejected’.

This impacts on so many aspects of our lives.  We may form friendships that we go on to mis-trust because we believe that nobody could truly like us.  We may go into sexual and loving relationships with the belief that our Partners will cheat on us because everyone else is more attractive or worthy, we may avoid promotion at work or hold back on being our best in the workplace, for if we dare put our head above the parapet we will be exposed as a fraud or as incompetent.  The list goes on….  Ultimately, people who are victim to their own insecurity, may stand to lose everything; for the destructive nature of these beliefs almost always leads to problematic behaviour; itself further reinforcing and validating the negative self-belief.

Counselling and Psychotherapy can help; particularly, in my view, a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy and work on the subject of Attachment.  By seeking to replace these deeply held, negative beliefs with new, better and more positive beliefs, and by unpicking those negatives one by one, a person can learn to become secure, as a whole person, perhaps for the first time.  This then creates a sense of hopefulness, open-mindedness and a greater sense of optimism that will also then impact upon subsequent behaviours.  We can move from ‘insecurity’ to being ‘in security’.

This post is only a very basic overview of my thoughts on insecurity and I would certainly recommend further reading and research on the subject.

(C) Dean Parsons. 2016. 

 

 

 

 

     As a psychotherapist, one of the issues that people come to see me for is help to overcome gambling addiction.  I have considered how gambling addiction originates and develops within people.  There are many definitions of addiction but there is a recognition that addiction has its origins within our genes; that biological factors such as neurological processes play a part.  Alongside our genetics the origin of addiction may also be influenced by the nurturing from our upbringing, by environmental factors, by pharmacological factors, by our interpretation and response to life experiences, and by social interactions.  These factors are by no means exhaustive.

     Like all addictions, there can be significant / life changing consequences to gambling addiction.  For most people, an occasional gambling experience can be fun.  Here, in the UK, millions of people safely take part in the National Lottery while some may bet on The Grand National horse race.  Where there is addiction, a person will not be seeking an ad-hoc fun experience; instead their desire to gamble may be fuelled by compulsion; a sense of need, often a sense of urgency and inconsiderate of consequence.

     An addicted gambler may experience excitement, relief, authority and optimism that can feel euphoric; leading the addicted gambler into increased frequency of gambling events and can often see an addicted gambler start to increase the amount they spend on gambling activities.  Psychologically, the addicted gambler may start convincing his/herself that a win is likely or probable and physiologically the addicted gambler may be fuelled by increased bouts of adrenaline rush.

     Conversely, when losing, the addicted gambler continues with gambling activity, despite even a possible losing streak.  He/she may be dishonest about losing, may be covert about financial losses, may start to accrue debt to cover the losses, may begin hiding their behaviour from those close to them and may develop a personality that facilitates these behaviours.  The addicted gambler may find him/herself entering into internal conflict, at this stage; deluding him/herself about the likelihood of a next big win, blocking him/herself from recognising any sense of consequence or escalation.

     This can lead an addicted gambler into a sense of desperation, in which the addicted gambler may feel like their situation is that of being backed into an increasingly tight corner; for they may find themselves in increased financial difficulty.  They may seek unlawful ways to fund their gambling activities, their social or professional networks may become aware of either the gambling activities or the consequences of it.  The addicted gambler may start to withdraw and relationships with friends, family and loved ones may visibly become impacted.

     By this point, an addicted gambler may find themselves increasingly likely to develop mental health deterioration; lack of sleep, increased anxiety, confusion, delusional thoughts, irrational responses, denial, as well as worsening physical health that may come from both the increased stress but also from not looking after themselves well.  At this stage, an addicted gambler may begin to feel distress at their deteriorating circumstances and may seek help.  He/she may seek the support of a specialist gambling therapy service or the support of someone like me; a psychotherapist.

     Upon reaching a point of helplessness, having already developed into a state of desperation, the addicted gambler may go on to feel that they have no control, that there is no way out, that they have no power to cease their addiction behaviour.  They may feel emotionally damaged, wounded or distressed to a level that guilt and self-blame develop and they may have started to experience significant loss; broken relationships, loss of material possessions, loss of a job, loss of self-esteem and social standing, loss of their own moral code, loss of health and mental wellbeing and, significantly, loss of hope.

     The loss of hope and dignity may further plunge an addicted gambler into despair, depression, anxiety and the addicted gambler may find him/herself turning their addiction behaviour to other addictions; such as drugs or alcohol, sex or other high risk behaviour.  This spiral into chaos and despair can lead an addicted gambler to suicidal ideation or actual suicide attempts.

     With far reaching implications for the addicted gambler and those close to him/her, the support of a psychotherapist can be a lifeline.  I work as an ‘integrative’ therapist.  This means that I have been trained in a variety of therapeutic models and disciplines; based upon a broad range of theories.  This offers me the opportunity to draw upon the most appropriate skills and techniques.  For example Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) and Gestalt therapy, to name but a few.  This broad source of models and techniques can then be designed to be appropriate to the individual needs of the client.

(The above article was published by Counselling Directory website in 2016.  What follows below is an addition I have made, since).

If you would like a creative exercise to try, just to use as a method of self-insight and exploration, try the following exercise, below.  It helps to develop self-awareness and also to understand characteristics.  This is important, for character traits and behaviours can be a sign to us.  If we identify problem character traits or behaviours increasing in use, we might be able to intervene in our thought or behavioural processes.

Exercise :

Simply read through the above description of the progressive stages of gambling addiction.  Draw a face mask that represents yourself at each stage of the progression into gambling addiction.  What type of character are you, originally, and how does this compare, as a face mask, to the face mask you have created at the very end of the progression into gambling?  What type of expressions are there on the masks, what type of colours?  What do the characteristics of each mask reveal?  If each mask was a real person and that person was in need of help and support, what would you do to help them?  What feelings, thoughts and behaviours would go along with each mask?  How would you help that person into better thoughts, feelings and behaviours?

Write down your answers and, when you can, reflect over them and try to put those helpful ideas into practice.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2016.  Update 2019.

The Truth is Out There

    Probably all families know difficulty and even tragedy, at some point along the way. I write this at a difficult time for my family.  Indeed, I am sitting here and reflecting on that difficulty, today.  Alongside this, I have been watching the brand new tv series of the X-Files; hence the use of this title.  I would say that there is something comforting about seeing a much loved tv series from my younger adult life, return for an unexpected update and continuation.  The tv show is bringing back many fond memories of bygone days and dear friends.

    We so easily develop feelings for the characters we watch so avidly on tv.  Then, they are gone.  When the opportunity returns for a new series many years later, it offers a reconnection to old forgotten thoughts and feelings, distant times, memories and a peculiar comfort from seeing ‘what happened’ to the characters we followed so intently all those years ago.  How did their imagined lives progress?  It’s less about whether the new series is even any good, but more about reconnecting with something so familiar from the past.

    Today, my family awaits the outcome of an inquest into the death of a very dear uncle.  I won’t describe the circumstances of his death on here, for that would be inappropriate, given that the cause of death has not yet been determined.  Unlike the characters in the X-Files, my uncle will not suddenly be returning to our lives.   I cannot help but notice the certainty of his absence, and the permanency of it, in stark contrast to the returning characters of an old favourite tv show.

     My uncle was my mum’s eldest brother and a lovely man; though deeply thinking and complex.  He was involved in the design of oil rigs for much of his life.  As a young man he left home, at the earliest opportunity, to go off on adventures around the world.  He had joined the Merchant Navy.  His departure from home caused a significant wrench for his siblings at that time; my mum being one of them.  He had truly been the eldest brother, with all of the responsibility that came with.

    My uncle inspired me greatly, throughout my life.  He and I maintained contact throughout.   He reinforced the strong sense of self-belief that my parents had taught me.  He inspired me to study and to travel the world, as he had done himself, and he was always the voice of wisdom.  That was something I called upon a number of times, throughout my life.  He always knew the right thing to say; a skill that my dear mum also has.  I only hope that he knew how much I loved him and valued him being in my life.

My lovely uncle reminded me of Professor Yaffle, from the children’s tv show ‘Bagpuss’; for he too peered over his spectacles in a certain way.  I find myself doing that very same thing, these days.

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    My uncle passed away last year and this was an immense shock to my family.  The impact of his loss has been so incredibly significant to my family but, as often happens in times of sadness and difficulty, the family has found itself pulling closer together and reforming.

   The inquest is taking place in Cornwall, where my uncle and a number of other family members live.  Today, Cornwall seems like a terribly long way away, as if across the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is certainly the opposite end of this craggy and beloved island, as I sit here on this east coast of beautiful England.

    So, ‘The Truth is Out There’ relates to the fact that, today, a full and final explanation as to the cause of my dear uncle’s death will become formalised.  I am hoping that this will offer my family the opportunity to complete the grieving process. It has taken almost a year to reach this point.  A very difficult year for us all.  I am mindful of the terrible burden and pain that the loss of my uncle has brought upon his daughter and his son; my cousins.

    Experiences like this are tough, in ways that one never expects.  For me, going through life’s difficulties is an ongoing education.  That is surely the only way to look at all that we have to endure.  I have lost many loved family members in my life, but this is the first time that there has been uncertainty about the cause of death; resulting in an inquest.  I have learnt that uncertainty is not a feeling that I enjoy.

    I expect that Mulder would suspect a conspiracy, while Scully would be in the corner of natural causes.  There is an exercise, that is creative, that will help with understanding the impact of difficult situations and events upon yourself.  You will see that I have depicted my Uncle as Professor Yaffle.  The next question would be what or who would I pick to represent who I am, in relation to all of the things I have stated, here?  This simple exercise is about self-awareness.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2016.