Merry Christmas to All!


When I studied A-Level Art, the Flemish painter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder swiftly became one of my favourite Renaissance artists, his art comprising an intriguing mix of atmosphere and closely observed cultural detail.  The above is a great example of his work, probably one that many of us are familiar with - dated 1601 and entitled 'Winter landscape with a bird trap' (the trap is on the right).

I thought I'd put this one up on the blog, partly because it is festive and suitable, and partly because of the function of detail.  There is, in the painting, a very satisfying balance between composition, atmosphere and points of detail.  Often we focus on only one of those three points, and neglect the others.

It struck me that in many ways, building an effective IFA Network is a bit like constructing a work of art.  One always hopes that people are going to like it, that it will be pleasing to the individuals which appear in the picture - but that it will function on all three levels.  One tries to create the right atmosphere or culture - one that Members will feel right at home in.  There is a pressing need to get the composition, or structures right - and that generally takes some time, a little like the artist adjusts proportions of objects, perspective, and arrangement on the canvas.  And then there's the detail - getting the balance right between great amounts of explanatory information and leaving sufficient space so that Members can make sense of it all, and put it to good use.

We're coming to the end of the year in which we (a) implemented RDR and (b) celebrated our first decade of successful operation as one of the very few, genuine, IFA networks left on the planet.  There seems still so much to do, that there are few grounds for complacency - but overall, we are encouraged by the progress we've been making.  And one of those sources of encouragement has been the arrival of Gill Cardy as ValidPath's Network Development Director.  Gill brings both structure and detail to the developing work of art which is ValidPath, and she slots right into our culture and ethos.

We wish all of our Members and colleagues a very Happy Christmas, and look forward to continuing to paint the fullest picture of independence in the New Year.
Kevin Moss, 13/12/2013