Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Climb every mountain

Those who see a cup as half full always have projects.

"Lots of mountains still to climb".
Mike, age 69.

Close to nature

A growing awareness of a spiritual dimension to life with increasing years is often felt .

"Moving closer to nature".
John, age 78.

Painting at 85 years of age

A recurrent theme amongst older people is that those who are engaged in creative activity enjoy a happier and more fulfilled later years.

Like this octogenarian:
" I still love to paint at 85."

And to prove it here is her first attempt at finger painting on an Ipad.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Struggle with fertility

(ipad image - Ann Shaw)

Margaret, a 40 year old, wrote:

"Age to me is a struggle with fertility!"

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

( image created on an iphone - Ann Shaw)

Age is all in the mind.

A flamboyant artist friend of mine ( age unknown) says:
"I am getting younger and younger."

Friday, 15 July 2011

Monday, 11 July 2011

"The joy of looking..."

(ipad image with Brushes app. -Ann Shaw)

Here is a thoughtful philosophical contribution made by a visitor to my studio during Forth Valley Open Studios.

I have no idea who wrote it.

"Joy in looking and comprehending is natures most beautiful gift."

Friday, 8 July 2011

85+..." lack of confidence"

Ipad, Brushes app - Ann Shaw)

A former Head of a school Art Department offered this poignant insight into his ageing process:

"I have reduced confidence in travel, skills, memory and mental agility."

( John, age 86 )

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

"At ease with myself...."

(ipad image - Ann Shaw)

Far from old age being a state of downhill all the way a surprising number of people expressed views along the lines of this statement by a 76 year old woman

"I am much more at ease with myself."

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

An octogenarian viewpoint...

(Ipad image - Ann Shaw)

Very little is known about the views of those in the 80+ age group or their feelings towards ageing.

It is as if they had suddenly become non-people.
Therefore I was pleased to get this contribution from Bette, age 87:

" I was still swimming at 80....80+ is the problem."

Bette, age 87, Bridge-of-Allan

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Artist Sarah Hill says..

(ipad image - Ann Shaw)

Here's another favourite of mine from artist Sarah Hill which will resonate with many creative peop

"What a relief to have grown up at last to find I am still a child! "

"Shedding a lifetime of conditioning is like falling leaves which leaves me walking lightly through life."

84 and still dancing...

(Ipad image - Ann Shaw)

One of my favourite contributions on growing older is this one:

" I am 84 years of age and still dancing!...."

( John, former ballroom dancing champion.)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Youth wasted on youth?......

(ipad image - Ann Shaw)

"Why did I not appreciate things when I was young? That wouldn't make any difference now. Nothing you can do about time passing so you have to make the best of it and hope that nothing medically bad or otherwise will happen.
Good things can happen in older age. Your children can have children and that is very rejuvenating. when you get older than this and start to really look and feel it your power is waning.
It's been waning since age 30 - brain cells dying, more vulnerable to disease especially after 60....

Happy times!
best of luck to all"


Friday, 1 July 2011

Be selfish....

(Ipad drawing -Ann Shaw)

"Time to be selfish and do whatever you want-
even if it is something crazy!"


Thursday, 30 June 2011

retirement and creativity

(Ipad image - Ann Shaw)

What does approaching retirement mean to you?

"Looking forward to lots of creativity."

( 64 year old woman)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Getting on a bit.........

"Desire to retire.
Fear of working 'till I drop."


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

old age....and the alternative

(Ipad drawing - Ann Shaw)

Old age means life.
It is much better than the alternative.
(George Sutherland)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Price for maturity

( Ipad drawing - Ann Shaw)

"Old age is a high price to pay for maturity."

Hugh Heighway, East Kilbride, Scoland.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Remain young inside

(Ipad - Ann Shaw)

"As long as you remain young inside"the old shell".

(Lesley , age 65, Fife)

Friday, 24 June 2011

"My father was right..."

(ipad image Ann Shaw)

"By the time I knew my father was right my son thought I was wrong".
( Henry )

Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Prisoner of my famiy"

Ipad drawing - Ann Shaw

"I thought geting old meant freedom to play- to do your own thing with enthusiasm.

"I find that it is the opposite- I am at everyone's beck and call and never seem to stop doing things for others.

" I'm a prisoner of my family."

(Anon- 70 year old woman)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Ipad Drawing: Ann Shaw "Freedom"

During Forth Valley Open Studios I asked visitors to my studio to write what growing old meant to them and pop it into a box.
Most chose to be anonymous.

"Freedom to be myself".

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Chinese .....approach to ageing

Image: "Contentment" drawn on ipad - Ann Shaw

During Forth Valley Open Studios I launched my inter-active "
Time of our Lives...getting on a bit" project.

I asked people to write down on a piece of paper what it meant to them.

One of the first was from Yang, a 22 year old Chinese marketing student:

"Old people is precious treasure to their family."

Monday, 30 May 2011

Rock group challenge ideas about growing older

This is a clip from Steamer Lane, a soft rock group of retired professional men who performed recently in Stirling. They are my first participants in my project "Time of our Lives...or getting on a bit?" which challenges how we view older people and the expectations people have of us.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Solo 2 The Conceptual Artist

Career change: You are never too old to fulfill your ambition - I took redundancy from my job as a newspaper journalist in Glasgow on "The Herald", to become a full-time student at Glasgow School of Art.

This is a video performance piece is from my Degree show in 2001. It was picked with six other graduating students and shown at the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.

Solo 1 The Amateur Artist

Made this video for my degree show at Glasgow School of Art in 2001. I re-invented myself as an artist having worked all my life as a journalist.

Quite a shock to the system....no more boozy lunches and generous expenses, and of course the freebies.

My tutors went berserk when they first saw this piece. Once they had calmed down a bit it was suggested I made more work showing what I had learnt in my four years in art school.

That's the next video.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Gardening- do our choice of plants reflect our personalities?

I was with a group of friends this morning in our local gardening centre stocking up on bedding plants when I couldn't help but notice that our trolleys laden down with plants reflected our personalities: the smallest in the group had picked all small plants, the tallest had tall elegant plants, and so on .... has anyone else noticed the resembalance between people and their choice of plants? ( our ages ranged fro early 60s to mid 80s).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sleep and brain function

Of course we all worry about the possibility of deteriorating brain function as we get older, well there is something positive you can do about it ( apart from daily crossword puzzles and sudoku) and that is get 7 hours sleep a night.

Latest research shows that those who get less than seven hours or, and this is the surprise finding, sleep for a long time, are more likely to show impaired cognitive function.

Researchers have found that the brain needs a steady 7 hours quality sleep in order to re-generate itself.

Find out more on BBC Radio 4 womans Hour 19 May 10am podcast.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Finding older men and women to photograph

When you live in a small Scottish town it is not easy to find older people who are prepared to pose in the nude.

If this was London, New York or Berlin there would be no problem. So... my search continues.....

Of course I could photograph myself. In fact if I cant find anyone I may end up doing so.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n
Steamer Lane ( from left to right) David Martin, Alex MacCambley and Alan Forrester

Time of our Lives…challenging perceptions of older people

We were just about to start filming the soft rock group Steamer Lane on Saturday in the middle of Stirling when they started: the South American pan pipers with all their amplifiers going full blast.
Try competing against that!

I had this tremendous sense of deja- vu. Ten years ago in my Degree show at
Glasgow School of Art
I had installed a sound installation “Duet” of birds singing and a cat purring. It was a lyrical piece and it was set up in the Loggia, top of the Macintosh building.

Suddenly from the “Hen Run” adjoining I hear shots. The student next to me had installed a Western style shooting gallery as his degree piece…. I had to find a new space sharpish.

Well, we did get the filming done, once the South American players stopped for an early afternoon siesta but this is one of the problems when you are working with sound and in a public space.

You have got to be prepared to think fast and find solutions.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Doris Lessing

I collected my bus pass and pension a couple of years ago and apart from this rite of passage I had not given much thought to the ageing process.
After all writers and artists never retire.

Some years ago at Hay Book Festival one middle aged woman asked
Doris Lessing, then 85, if she had thought of retiring.
" Why should I?" she said.

And that's it , those of us who are involved in some form of creative work, will carry on until our last breathe.