Same Sky #1

Today is the first day of my new project. Over the course of the next year, I’m hoping to raise awareness of myself, and of my work, but more importantly, of the issues that affect other people around the world. Leading the busy lives we do, it’s all too easy to skim through the papers without really reading them, to listen to the radio news with only one ear, to turn over if something unpleasant is shown on the tv news. But there are people across the globe who are no different to us; who, just because they are a minority religion, or have a minority view, or who are just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, are persecuted or lose their loved ones; who lose their homes; who cannot get a basic education; or who lose their lives, every day.

Sometimes, we could all do with giving a little more compassion. So I came up with the theme of ‘Same Sky’ – I sketch or paint a picture 2 or 3 times a week, recording a view of the sky wherever I am on that particular day. Alongside this, I’ll work some headlines ripped from that day’s papers into the picture, to give a snapshot of the world on that date. Because we all live under the same sky.

I’ll blog about each picture, and give a little more detail about the stories behind the headlines and a bit about the actual drawing process. Hopefully, the idea might gather momentum and people will follow the blog to discuss the daily picture, whether you’re an art fan or not. I’m hoping in the future to either stage an exhibition of the pictures, or to make a book out of them – either way, I’d love to be able to donate a large chunk of any proceeds to the charities War Child and Save The Children.

SO here’s the first ever Same Sky picture, and the photo it was taken from.

The view is my back garden, late afternoon on this chilly but sunny March Monday. I’ve done a watercolour wash background, then used pastels and pencil pastels to capture the vibrant colour clash of the warm orange brickwork and the lovely blue sky. The newspaper pieces concern two stories that jumped out at me today when I read the paper: the Cyprus bank panic, and the 20th anniversary of the Warrington bomb.

In Cyprus, locals and ex-patriots were rushing to pull their money out of the Cypriot banking system as the nation’s government sought to find last-minute ways to avoid having to use depositors’ savings to fund a levy on the $19 billion bail-out proposed by the euro zone. Such was the panic at cash machines around the small Mediterranean country that electronic withdrawals were stopped.

The Warrington IRA bomb anniversary hit a poignant nerve for me. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news 20 years ago, and distinctly remember my utter horror that terrorism had struck so close to home (this was 3 years before the Manchester bomb). Somehow, it had never occurred to me before that day that this insidious, cowardly threat would ever stray far from Northern Ireland or London, and yet here it was, practically on my doorstep. On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in Warrington to remember Jonathan Ball (3) and Tim Parry (12), the 2 young boys killed in the attack. Tim’s mum, Wendy, released 20 doves, and 20 balloons were released for Jonathan. To commemorate two boys who were simply enjoying a Saturday shopping trip with their families, and never returned home.

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