Tuesday, 8 December 2009

lipstick lady

This painting by a dear friend makes me smile every time I look at her, she is hanging in my dining room and I treasure her. She died a year and a half ago. She kept popping into my head today, so I thought I would like to share this painting "Lipstick lady". She was in her late 70s, she was a true eccentric, who when had money lived like a king, when none lived like a pauper. I used to see her every week we would sit in her flat which was hardly ever cleaned, a shrine to art and fashion with a shed load of dust on top. Every week we would read Harpers, Vogue, Tatler, any of the glossies as well as avant-garde and quirky publications. Shirley lived ate and slept art. I loved to sit drink gin out of the finest chipped tea cups, delight at each page and natter for hours about the world and his wife. Shirley lived with Schizophrenia throughout her life, I met her in the last 12 years of her life, when she came to an arts project I had set up. It wasn't until she died that I found out that some of those stories that were so ingrained within her were not the reality, they were part of her delusions that were so real that she had lived with them all her life and where reality and fiction had merged the delusions had become her reality.
We always laughed lots, she painted with anything she could get her hands on. She could often be found knocking up the paint on the whole dinner service. Even the cleaner who she paid to come round and sort out the almighty mess, stopped doing the cleaning and ended up coming around for 4 hours a week to be the life model. So the house remained a messy magpie's nest.
My favourite story was when we had gone up to London to visit some galleries and we came upon Vivienne Westwood's shop, Shirley popped in and found some wonderful earrings. Me being the voice of reason said "Shirley you are about to be cut off you need to pay the electricity bill." She promptly replied "Sod the electricity bill darling. We have candles".
Thinking of you!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful lady :)

  2. what a woman! she'll live forever in yours and other people's memories. not many people are that lucky