If a painting could give out warm hugs, this is it. Inspired by the view out of Jenni’s childhood home in London, ‘Together Again’ celebrates finding joy during a difficult time and the beautiful moment when lockdown lifted. Life slowed down for a while and what little outdoor space we had became our sanctuary.
Set on a bright sunny day, it brims with your happy, hilarious, and heart-warming garden stories. Sheds became pubs, new puppies got in the way of Joe Wicks workouts, Deliveroo was in demand and hot tubs were on the wish list. ‘You’ve Been Framed’ would have happily paid out to some of the fantastic home videos that were sent in. Half-naked Elves and Penguins mastering Tik Tok dance routines to ‘Blinding Lights’ and the Rose Johnsons, who narrowly avoided A&E after holding a leapfrog competition with a Little Tikes Cosy Coupe.
Stef & Sammy, Jenni Rich Becka & Joe, Bill Pauline & Lu, Jeanette, Karen & Paul, Kirti Andrew Mimi & Dana, Chris Jane Anthony Chris Millie & Fanta, Josie Sam & son, Helen Gavin Alexander George & Max, Krishna Lewis & Gia, Joe Clare Philip Jack Grace & Angela, Katharine Nick Phoebe & Imogen, Claire and Simon, Helen Paul Oliver & Joseph, Karen & Paul, Megan Jamie & Ardie, Rebecca David Jack & Finn, Wally
Tracey’s story was the last one I painted in. It felt like fate that there was still the perfect place left for her. I didn’t know her full story and how much it meant to her until I had painted her in. In late 2017 Tracey lost her husband Stephen to Motor Neurons Disease and her world fell apart.
‘Losing Steve had a big impact on my mental health, I was struggling and often told family and friends I was ok when I was not. During lockdown, I took myself outside on walks and my mood started to lift. I became interested in cold water swimming as I’d heard this was good for Mental Health. The Beach was my first swim in cold water, and it was an incredible feeling – this photo was taken of me, it says all about how I was feeling at the time. It may not be for everyone but for me, wild swimming has helped me become me again.’
Painted in memory of their beautiful sister and niece Michelle who featured in an earlier painting, Surf’s Up.
‘Would love to be included. My sister was in your last one and we sadly lost her in December, she bought the print. She was the one who nearly lost her bikini top in the sea. Seems fitting to try and be included. I’ve shoulder length now blonde hair and usually a white patterned swimsuit (kind of tropical) xx’
Theirs is always one…
“We love a bit of wild swimming, usually involves our boys jumping in or paddling in the shallows. And the big kid (Daddy!) swinging on a rope swing whilst us Mums would be trying to keep our hair from getting wet”
Good Luck with that Jade, with Tarzan swinging around!
Two best friends living in the Lake District found a shared love for wild swimming and swimsuits.
Meet Teresa, Tegwin, Natalie and Angela, the self-professed Dawn Twits. These ladies like an early start, skipping into the cold water! It turns out lots of you have these hats, so a quick shout out to ‘The Rother Bobbers’ too!
‘We would be wearing our silly hats and making squeaky noises on the way in. Also, inadvertently swimming with jumping fish, a rogue seal and diving birds.’
When we all got really into DIY and took it upon ourselves to build our own Pubs!
‘The workmate was out A LOT in our garden. David was making shelves everywhere, even garden shelves! He then made a bar out of old palettes at the bottom of the garden; named Finn’s Bar because he was his little helper, between eating ice creams.’
Finding and glamming up the precious outdoor space on their balcony and all with a new-born.
“We have a balcony that gets so sunny, but we had construction work opposite the entire pandemic! The only days they weren’t working were Sundays, so we always had to clean the construction dust away every Sunday and then get comfy with our cups of tea. We’ve tried to change up the balcony to give it a Mediterranean vibe. Lots of terracotta pots, brass, candles and bamboo. “
‘There was of course the ultimate lockdown classic of Leap frogging the Little Tikes car and failing miserably’
‘Come on she can do this! She’s been training with Joe Wicks for like four days’
‘Do this Mummy, Do this Mummy!’
The best bit part of the home video the Rose Johnson’s sent in was their kids’ commentary.
TikTok home video superstars. Well, they in their words, made a few family members watch it as it was purely for fun.
“We all learnt a TikTok dance to Blinding Lights and raided the dressing up box to perform. I was a knight, my husband an elf, my eldest daughter in a Hawaiian hula skirt and my youngest daughter was a giant penguin, complete with flippers that somewhat hindered her dance steps. The neighbours moved out soon afterwards! When I look back at that awful time, there are some really happy memories, and taking the time as a family to be silly was one of them.’
Karen and Paul feel like good friends after visiting me in Norwich just for a coffee one day and I had to get them in the painting.
‘He wears a wild BBQ shirt and plays his guitar with me by his side.’
Seven years ago, Sam asked Jenni to paint the most difficult but most poignant painting she has ever painted. Whilst undergoing treatment for cancer, Sam used positive imagery to help him manage his pain. The scene he imagined was of him, his wife Josie and their three year old son Finley playing Frisbee under their willow tree on a bright sunny day. Unsure of what the future might hold, Sam asked Jenni to paint his happy visualisation so that Josie and Finley had a permanent reminder in their home of the happiness and joy they shared together.
When Jenni put the call out for stories for ‘Together Again’ Josie got in touch:
‘Hey Jenni, I don’t know if you remember but my husband Sam commissioned a picture from you when he was in hospital after having surgery for bowel cancer. It was us in our garden with our family playing. We love it so much!
Sam died in September this year and we miss him terribly. In lockdown we got a map of our local area and did lots of walks with our son who is 9. We discovered loads of new places, collected big sticks – my sons favourite thing to do on a walk and had a lovely time together.’