Jumping over

This little essay will be kept as short as possible. Simply because it doesn’t necessarily ‘fit’ within the small but growing pile of other scribbles I’ve written here.

But as much as these writings of mine are here to fill a moment in the day of the meandering soul that happens upon my scribbles (and hopefully make it a pleasurable moment at that) they’re also part of me. And as such, they allow me to martial thoughts and emotions into some semblance of order. I’m not one to linger on past experiences; I bawl with the noisiest… but I would always rather try to straighten them out in my mind, see them for what they were, and move on, hopefully with a wiser take on ‘life’.

So here I am using this as an opportunity to align my thoughts, thoughts regarding loss.

Throughout my life, like everyone, I’ve experienced loss: loss of family, of pets; I’ve howled and railed against the horrors of mass destruction broadcast across the media. I’ve wept over the premature deaths of dear friends, and I’ve stared at my miscarriages with shock and a deep welling pain at the loss of a future life that was meant to be lived and loved. Like many, I’ve usually managed to somehow ‘straighten’ these knots out, and move forward.

But recently, our dog died. My entire family have been devastated by this. She was our first dog and lived with us for some 13 years. And of course, the longer they live with you, the deeper the imprint, when they inevitably move on.

The hole she left behind was more than a run-and-jump wide. It was huge… and for me it was filled with so much more than just the memory of her, and her warmth and companionship. It was big enough to offer up a cozy haven for all the other times I tried to skip ahead and not look down.

But this time I looked down. It’s utterly pointless, this stiff upper lip, this “I’m a bit busy at the moment; I’ll deal with that at a later date”. The losses I’ve experienced all have their place, but contrary to my suspicious mind, it transpires they’re not there to trip me up, pin me down and suck the joy out living. They’re markers, waypoints, that delineate this journey. It doesn’t make it any easier to arrive at this denouement, but it’s allowing for a more gentle unravelling of the knots, a rearrangement of the threads that make them smoother, defining them as part of the weave and weft, no more no less. The sorrow is no smaller. It’s just not as raw.

We adored Seven. That was her name. Everything about her was about us too. And she defined for us what a family member should be… spirited, loving, a little naughty, bright, and very willing to throw herself into any new game. Oh, and she never left any food on her plate. I like that about a person.

Just in case you were wondering...

I get asked a lot, if I sell prints, originals, or take commissions, and the answer is, yes. Happily!

But the thing is, I’ve never shouted it about it, because I’m normally a bit preoccupied with illustrating books. Recently, however, I’ve received a deluge of emails, and I suspect it has something to do with the wonderful bit of press from the Observer Food Monthly magazine. They very kindly ran me as one of their suggested gifts for Christmas.. well not me (messy) but my illustrations. Added to this, there was the most flattering of bylines:

“Still-lives from artist loved by top chefs”

This is not where I name drop; I’d embarrass myself, along with my children. But I do like painting food, and luckily it seems that others appreciate it too.

So I thought I’d better scribble a word or two, just in case you were also wondering what I had available for sale. If you click on the link below, you’ll find some of my current work. And if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, there are plenty more examples (of fish in particular) in the portfolio section.

Anna Koska Illustrations

 Meanwhile, here are a few that I’ve been merrily working on…

If you’ve any questions, ideas or comments, just ping me an email or leave me a comment.

Anna x