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Is anyone still here..?

Well, what a washout 2023 has been...

As you've probably noticed, I've been pretty quiet both on here and social media during the last year. Christmas Eve eve 2022 I caught covid, having been SO smug about avoiding it for nearly 3 years. So smug. Ridiculously smug. Well you know what they say about pride coming before a fall.. I didn't actually feel that ill with covid, I just felt like I had a bad cold (which I already had). Buuutt covid wasn't done with me yet. I then caught a chest infection which wiped me out for 3 weeks, went back into work and 12 weeks after having covid, I was signed off with long covid. I HAVE NEVER FELT SO DRAINED IN ALL MY LIFE. I'd get to lunchtime and just hit a wall. My memory is normally pretty good and I could give Dory a run for her money. My lungs quite bluntly were crap, I couldn't get a full lung of air in. It's taken me a long time to get back to a functional level of brain and some joie de vivre again.
Sadly the one thing I couldn't find enthusiasm/brain space for was creating art. I did a couple of paintings of a cow and a hound and bar one Christmas commission (the main photo here) that's pretty much all I've done all year. For someone who's constantly out and about and doing stuff, I've found this year really hard. Just when I was getting back into a better place mentally and health-wise I had a mole removed which turned out to be skin cancer. This was back in October, it's now Twixtmas and I've just had my secondary operation on the 27th December to make sure all the cancerous cells have been removed, leaving me currently with a hole the size of a 50p piece in my arm.
Apologies for this so far being quite a negative blog post but I always try to be honest so just filling you in on whats happened this year for me. I am now on the mend mentally and physically. I'm wearing large hats and applying suncream every day. Even on days when you don't think you'll need it (it's been an eyeopener how much more regularly you should use it). I'm glad that people still had enough faith in me to create a commission for them for Christmas. This pushed me back into the studio with no place for excuses and I'm really happy with the end result. I've also fallen back in love with drawing but I'm going to be looking at how I run CRA moving forwards. I'm going to focus on producing more original artwork which is what I enjoy doing and winding down the prints, cards and homeware side of the business. As such, I have MASSIVELY reduced the prices on all greetings cards. This is the perfect opportunity to stock up!
I've always wanted to expand my creative side until it could allow me to go part time in my day job and this last year has taught me that if I want it, I should go for it.
If you've managed to get all the way to the end of this post, I salute you. Hoping you all had a great festive season and hopefully see you all in 2024!
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I am still here for you and always will be my darling niece. You are so strong and courageous and I'm so proud of you. Things are getting better for you and will continue to do so, the bad is over now.With the New Year and onwards for always I wish you the very best of health and happiness. With all my love El and Gringo de Paris xxxxxxxxxxx

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