Rosie Johnson Illustrates
Freelance illustrator

Notes from the studio (it’s a shed)

Pie, anyone?

Hi folks, I’m writing this on a muggy Tuesday morning on a keyboard with a malfunctioning s key. I’ve had to copy an ‘s’ from a previous post and every time you see an s appear, it’s because I’ve pasted it in. I feel like I’m learning to type for the first time. If you spot a word in this post that doesn’t make sense, try mentally popping an s in. It’ll be that.

Dunham Massey

Anyway, this blog is going to be about gratitude. And pie. I’ve just come back from four, blissful child-free days in Manchester with my partner and incredible friends we’ve known for 20+ years. There was dancing in Canal street, drinking, eating and snorty laughing on repeat. We walked through gorgeous National Trust property, Dunham Massey without fear that a child might pull down a priceless statue or get a deer antler in the eye. Perfection. As the weekend drew to a close and we said our goodbyes (unsure if it’d be a full six months before seeing each other again) I got that horrible, sinking feeling that I remember from childhood. The night-before-school-starts-again feeling. On the train home, a man in front of us made odd little sighing noises for about 4 hours straight. On the WAY to our fun trip, I would have acknowledged this little quirk with a wry smile to my partner and a sip of my tinned G+T. On the return journey, I scowled and looked to see if there was a part of my disappointing picnic that I could stuff into my ears to block him out. A picnic that would have been deemed delicious on the outward journey. My glum mood began seeping into every part of the day. My headphones hurt my ears, there was a rhombus of sunlight obscuring my view of my phone… etc. etc.

deer at Dunham

It took a gentle, metaphorical, but nonetheless deliberate slap to remind me that I was about to see our brilliant children, who had spent the long weekend with my brilliant parents. That tomorrow would not bring a ‘school day’ feeling, but a day of work doing what I love on my own terms. I get to spend time with friends who ‘get me’ on a regular basis. I can’t move for like-minded, funny, caring people. My everyday is good. It can’t possibly be lazy breakfasts and compliments from drag queens ALL the time.

Recently, some close friends have announced that they are separating after many years. This is obviously an upsetting time, with complex emotions and difficult paths ahead and I absolutely don’t want to simplify the experience, but, as an outsider, I have been particularly taken with their open, loving announcement. They expressed sorrow, of course, but also gratitude for their time together and support for each other into the future. Grown ups or what???

Our daughter is nearing her final year at Primary school and worrying about what teacher she’ll have and whether she’ll be in a class with her friends. It’s horrible, as a parent, not being able to say, “You’ll definitely get the teacher you want and all your friends will be in the same class as you.” But we can’t say that, because it won’t be like that. The outcome, like so many she will face in her life, will be mixed and challenging. Not entirely positive or negative. All we’ve been able to say is that we can’t make everything easy, but we can help her tackle things that are hard. Which sounds like a meme or the final message of one of the hideous pre-teen things she watches on Netflix. We talked about being grateful for the fact that she makes friends easily and finds school fun and interesting. How much worse it would be for a child with complex learning or social needs. Learning gratitude takes empathy and it’s bloody hard work.

Personalised Pie Chart Rosie Johnson

OK, Rosie, you said there would be pie. I want pie. Well here’s the pie. I drew this illustration as a response to feeling like all I do is moan about how busy I am and make nourishing food that my kids hate, whilst searching for my sports bra.

While all of it’s true- I’m going to put a slightly hippy lens of gratitude on it: I am always moaning about how busy I am because I’m busy. My business is doing well. That’s a great thing! I’m always looking for my sports bra because I can exercise. I don’t have a disability that makes that difficult. I have a partner who can be home with the kids while I go and shimmy myself into a good mood.

I have children who I love and food to feed them. No, actually, screw the gratitude lens for this one- EAT THE FOOD, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE ….

Ehem… I am supremely grateful for all the things I moan about and that make up my life. And look- cherry pie! Yum. I don’t want this to sound like one of those pious, unrelatable missives that tell us to look on the brightside and stop venting our frustrations or pet peeves. I just want a lovely balance of fun moaning with the occasional reality check of how frickin lucky I am.

Here’s the selling part- if you want a personalised pie chart of your very own- you can have one! What makes up the majority of your day? How much time do you actually spend on ‘that thing’ that is supposed to be your life’s work?! You might want one as a token of gratitude for someone in your life- maybe your child’s teacher/ teaching assistant, a colleague who’s leaving, you get the idea. And, what’s more, because I am so grateful for YOU and your support of my little business, I am offering these at an introductory price of £16.50, fully personalised, free UK delivery.

As ever, thank you for supporting me- in comments, likes and shares on social media- in buying my work with your cold hard cash which is so appreciated and in person at events. My next market will be the truly fabulous Made it Devon Makers Market on saturday the 6th of July at the Exeter Phoenix 10-5.

Come and find me here, click on the picture for more info.

Come and find me here, click on the picture for more info.

And finally thank goodne for the copy and pate facility which ha enabled me to write thi blog pot without an key. o many little thing to be grateful for every day. Big love, Roie x