This blog is linked to my Tumblr site.  
Norfolk based Artist, working and exhibiting Internationally 

Kirsty O'leary-Leeson; Artist

I am an emerging artist who graduated from Norwich University College of the Arts June 2011, with a first class degree in Fine Art. I have been a finalist in the International Saatchi Drawing Showdown, have exhibited across the Uk and also appeared in the BBC 2 Programme 'Show Me the Monet'. Visual Art Trader wrote of my work: "The senses of emotional uncertainty, of time evaporating and of forgotten memories in Kirsty's drawings are made all the more powerful by the beautiful and precise execution of the images." www.kirstyoleary.com

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Posted 56 weeks ago

Our Direct it Yourself Green Funeral

I am writing this because we shouldn’t be scared of organising funerals, we all go away in the end, and I believe that a DIY or Direct it Yourself burial is far simpler than people think and should be encouraged where possible. It wasn’t emotionally easy but then the death of a loved one never shall be, but I am extraordinarily proud of what my brother and I did for our mum.

In July 2016 my mum was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer called myeloma, it was hoped that with chemotherapy she would have a bit more time, but it was not to be and in the early hours of 18th August 2016 my beautiful mum passed away with myself and my brother Simon with her. 

Mum had left her body to medical science, not really because it meant a lot to her but more so that her small but hard earned savings could go to her family and not into burying a body. Mum had discussed with me whether to buy a burial plot a couple of years ago and I had just laughed and told her to save the money after all what if she was lost at sea or blew up in a tragic plane accident, and there was no body to bury!  She had worried about the cost of a funeral and we had reassured her that we would just shove her in the back of our people carrier and wouldn’t spend a lot. As a family we were not scared of discussing death, and approached it with a sense of humour, and this helped my brother and I when it came to having to plan an unplanned funeral when because of the chemo mum’s body could not be accepted by our local teaching hospital.

Mum was a bit of a hippy, very spiritual but not religious and we knew she had looked into a green burial site called Nar Valley, in Pentney Kings Lynn, about an hours drive away from us. We went and had a look and it was a peaceful meadow abutting the graveyard of the local church, and we decided that it would be a nice place for mum to lay her bones. 

I had looked into funerals and was shocked at how expensive it all was, particularly how much funeral directors charged and for what? We obviously had to pay for the burial site, but we could save almost £300 by digging the grave ourselves however we decided that probably by the time we got up to our knees we would be seriously regretting it and decided to pay the charge.  We booked it for 31st August, mum’s birthday and two days before her eldest grandaughter left to go travelling in Australia. This didn’t give us much time.

I bought a white cardboard coffin from Ebay, several hundred pounds cheaper than from any website, (It came through the post in another large cardboard box but it did say what it was on the outside - would have given the local courier service something to discuss). I am an artist and I began to decorate it in pastel landscapes I also printed lots of photos of the family and glued them around the edges, plus I asked family and friends to send me cards and poems that were also added. It looked beautiful.

Whilst preparing all this mum’s body remained at the hospital mortuary, this is fine with the hospital and doesn’t cost anything, my brother simply phoned them to organise the day and time of collection and they were happy to wrap/clothe her and put her in the coffin. (You just need to take the death certificate with you). We decided to transport mum from the mortuary to the burial site in a beautiful vw camper van. Mum was a real gypsy at heart and there was no way I was going to put her in a depressing black hearse.  I found a local chap on gumtree who hired one out for celebrations and he was very understanding and helpful. My brother collected it the night before, came over to me and picked up the coffin, then the day of the funeral he drove it to the mortuary picked mum up and drove her to Pentney. The camper van was perfect because the back opens up and the coffin could be easily slid in and out and the curtains could be pulled closed whilst driving as apparently you can drive a dead body around quite legally but it shouldn’t be on show.

At the burial site the camper van drove up close to the grave and family members moved the coffin from the van and it was placed on wooden batons that went over the grave.

Garden chairs were put out at the burial site, and there were no formal flower tributes, I had sent out a request for garden and wild flower posies. We were blessed by beautiful weather and the flowers placed in decorated jars attracted butterflies.

People began to arrive and time was spent looking at all the pictures and photos on the coffin. When everyone had arrived we began our little service, I had contacted all family members and they had sent me a poem that they would like to have read out on their behalf, I typed these up into an order of service for my husband Jamie and  my sister in laws father Trevor, who were both officiating. They read out the welcome that my brother wrote, we had a couple of minutes silence and then I read out my own tribute - I struggled a bit but it meant a lot to do it myself (that’s why I put myself first). Then my brother read out his chosen poem, Jamie and Trevor took it in turns to read out the rest of the poems. My daughter Adara attempted to read hers, but only got a short way through, so another family member took over, because it was quite informal and relaxed this happened quite naturally.

At the end we played a song she had mentioned to my sister in law that she would like, Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ we all laughed and jigged around a bit, and just as it finished four jets flew over in formation, another two had flown over just as we started the service - ok so I can’t promise that this will happen if you DIY a funeral but everything about the day was beautiful and wonderful and although there was sadness and tears I can only think of mums burial as a lovely thing.

We decided not to lower the coffin ourselves, we didn’t want to risk it turning into a 70′s bbc farce, we weren’t going to do the throwing in the dirt thing anyway and we thought it would be difficult for the children to see, and so we left the coffin where it was, the lady who owned the burial site had arranged for it to be lowered and filled in within 15 mins or so of our leaving.

We all went off and had a picnic, no getting maudlin at a pub, fizzy drinks, cups of tea and vegetarian sausage rolls. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful soul.

Posted 56 weeks ago

Fundraising for myeloma

In mid July My darling mum, Jenny woods was diagnosed with an incurable cancer called myeloma, although she was immediately started on chemotherapy to try and slow the disease and give her some more time, the cancer was too aggressive and she passed away in the early hours of the 18th August, my brother and I were with her.
Earlier this year I was commissioned by the national lottery to do 4 drawings for an olympic themed colouring book that was given to Team GB athletes in Rio.
To raise money for Myeloma UK  I am selling the 20 copies of the colouring book that were given to me by the lottery, I am asking people to donate to www.myeloma.org.uk
Please donate directly to myeloma UK and in the ‘other details’ box please put my name and that I am fundraising via olympic colouring books, as they can then keep a running total for me.
Any size of donation is vital be it pennies or pounds, let me know if you donated and everyone will go into a draw to receive one of 20 copies.
Email me at kolearyleeson@btinternet.com
You can also visit this website www.myeloma.org.uk to find out more about this rarer type of cancer.
I am also hoping to find a way to contact athletes in Rio to send me their copies either coloured in or signed so that I can arrange an auction to raise more funds. Check out this page again soon to see if I have any luck in achieving this.

Posted 60 weeks ago
<p>Selling off my copies of the Team GB olympic colouring book, not available to the public, to raise funds for the incurable cancer myeloma. Please visit my website for further info <a href="http://www.kirstyoleary.com">www.kirstyoleary.com</a></p>

Selling off my copies of the Team GB olympic colouring book, not available to the public, to raise funds for the incurable cancer myeloma. Please visit my website for further info www.kirstyoleary.com

Posted 60 weeks ago

Earlier this year I was commissioned by the national lottery to produce some drawings for an olympic themed colouring-in book that would be given to all Team GB athletes in Rio this summer. The book is not available to the general public but I was given several copies, I now want to sell these to raise money for Myeloma.UK. 

About a month ago my darling mum, Jenny Woods was diagnosed with myeloma an incurable form of blood cancer. With chemotherapy it was hoped that she would have up to a year or two with us, but it was not to be, the cancer was too aggressive and myself and my family are now looking after in hospital, making her final days as peaceful as possible.To help me make something positive out of such sadness I am selling off my copies of the colouring books to the highest bidders, I want people to tell me the amount they would like to donate to Myeloma.UK and the highest amounts will get a copy once they have donated.

My contact at the lottery has also sent me more copies of the book and everyone who donates, no matter if it’s pounds or pennies will be put into a draw to recieve these extra copies.

Please contact me before the end of September with the amount you are donating so I can keep a running total. Please do not send money to me, rather donate directly at www.myeloma.org.uk
For more info please visit www.kirstyoleary.com 

Posted 60 weeks ago
<p>I’m thrilled to have been invited to join Contemporary British Painting. They are also running an art prize - just a few days left to apply if you are interested!</p>

I’m thrilled to have been invited to join Contemporary British Painting. They are also running an art prize - just a few days left to apply if you are interested!

Posted 76 weeks ago
<p>Kissing Celluloid:</p><p>As a huge Star Wars Fan I read a book many years ago about the making of the Empire Strikes Back, ‘Once Upon a Galaxy’ by Alan Arnold, in it Carrie Fisher says of Han Solo and Princess Leia, ‘It’s romance in Celluloid” even though I was only a young teenager at the time, the phrase really caught my imagination however I  remembered it incorrectly, as kissing Han Solo is like kissing celluloid. Years later age 38, for an art project I created a mock dvd case for all those rom-com films I adore.  Although Star Wars cannot be considered a rom-com I think all my romantic expectations as I grew up were based upon falling in love with Han Solo, and after watching The Force Awakens I suppose Princess Leia’s happy ever after never quite made it either.</p>

Kissing Celluloid:

As a huge Star Wars Fan I read a book many years ago about the making of the Empire Strikes Back, ‘Once Upon a Galaxy’ by Alan Arnold, in it Carrie Fisher says of Han Solo and Princess Leia, ‘It’s romance in Celluloid” even though I was only a young teenager at the time, the phrase really caught my imagination however I  remembered it incorrectly, as kissing Han Solo is like kissing celluloid. Years later age 38, for an art project I created a mock dvd case for all those rom-com films I adore.  Although Star Wars cannot be considered a rom-com I think all my romantic expectations as I grew up were based upon falling in love with Han Solo, and after watching The Force Awakens I suppose Princess Leia’s happy ever after never quite made it either.

Posted 93 weeks ago
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Posted 96 weeks ago
<p>I just added a new piece of art to Saatchi Art! <a href="http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Norfolk-Mural-Montage/295636/2739942/view?wmc=1142&utm_medium=social_media&utm_source=tumblr&utm_campaign=1142&utm_content=art_upload_share"> Norfolk Mural Montage</a> </p><p>Norfolk based murals artist, <a href="http://www.kirstyoleary.com">www.kirstyoleary.com</a>, murals for homes, schools, businesses, bathrooms and bedrooms.</p>

I just added a new piece of art to Saatchi Art! Norfolk Mural Montage

Norfolk based murals artist, www.kirstyoleary.com, murals for homes, schools, businesses, bathrooms and bedrooms.

Posted 96 weeks ago
<p>I
was born in a cloud…<br/>Now
I am falling.<br/>I
want you to catch me.<br/>Look
up and you’ll see me.<br/>You
know you can hear me.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>We’re
over a forest.<br/>There’s
millions of snowflakes.<br/>We’re
dancing.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling and I’ll find you.<br/>I
am ice and dust. I am sky.<br/>I
can see horses wading through snowdrifts.<br/>My
broken hearts, my fabulous dances.<br/>My
fleeting song, fleeting.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>My
broken hearts, my fabulous dance.<br/>My
fleeting song.<br/>My
twist and shout.<br/>I
am ice and dust and light. I am sky and here.<br/>I
can hear people.<br/>I
think you are near me now.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>We’re
over a forest.<br/>It’s
midnight at Christmas.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>I
think I can see you.<br/>There’s
your long, white neck.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>Now
I am falling.<br/>Look
up and you’ll see me.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>In
a moment or two.<br/>I’ll
be with you.<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.<br/>Be
ready to catch me<br/>The
world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.</p><p>Lyrics By
Kate Bush</p>

I was born in a cloud…
Now I am falling.
I want you to catch me.
Look up and you’ll see me.
You know you can hear me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
We’re over a forest.
There’s millions of snowflakes.
We’re dancing.
The world is so loud. Keep falling and I’ll find you.
I am ice and dust. I am sky.
I can see horses wading through snowdrifts.
My broken hearts, my fabulous dances.
My fleeting song, fleeting.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
My broken hearts, my fabulous dance.
My fleeting song.
My twist and shout.
I am ice and dust and light. I am sky and here.
I can hear people.
I think you are near me now.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
We’re over a forest.
It’s midnight at Christmas.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
I think I can see you.
There’s your long, white neck.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
Now I am falling.
Look up and you’ll see me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
In a moment or two.
I’ll be with you.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.
Be ready to catch me
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I’ll find you.

Lyrics By Kate Bush

Posted 97 weeks ago

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