The Fancy Lady of 2013
2013 is over now. It began for me with a fantastic party in a big country house, a buffalo dance in a king’s coat, and an icy swim in a pond. It ended with a baby. That party was the last time I got drunk and I’m glad I didn’t know I was already pregnant at the time as I would have never had such fun.
The title of this painting was given by a small boy who saw me drawing the sketch for it on new year’s day.
The baby has accompanied me at the studio as I completed it.
The Museum in the Park in Stroud holds an annual Secret Postcard fundraiser. There are some far more illustrious artists than I taking part, from James Dyson to Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, Cleo Mussi to Dennis Gould – but it is open to anyone so I thought I would make a postcard for the event. Its meant to be a secret ! but the show is over and the cards are to be allocated randomly to ticket holders later this week. So if you get this one you will know who its by, but then you will anyway, because my name is on the back.
Mother & Child
a sketch of the birth goddess/creator of the universe
As part of the preparation for the recent birth of my daughter, I read a bit about birth art and a lot about natural labour and childbirth. Naturally for such a significant event I was going to have ideas for icons and this is the sketch of the image that came to me one day.
I hope you are not offended; having gone through the process my view of the female body is radically altered and I have no shame left so to me this drawing now expresses something natural and magnificent. Before the birth I was much more uneasy about it.
I was very lucky in that despite having just passed my 40th birthday a few days before the birth (and therefore feeling I was a bit old for this sort of thing) the baby was born in the birth pool and I had no need of pain relief (though that isn’t what I said at the time…)
The Goddess is not asleep – but she is dreaming the universe into existence. Life and death emerge from her body dreaming and rivers of energy flow from her being. A rainbow signals hope and the arrival of the new.The twins are like a yin and yang – the dark and light. Life begins here and at the end, she will take us back into her dark embrace, to nourish the next event with the afterbirth of experience.
I made this before the birth and having seen very few birth goddess images. Yet it features several elements that match other artist’s work on the theme.
Having now given birth I still feel it very clearly and strongly still works – if rather idealised – but then she is a Goddess after all.
This will form the central figure in a large icon painting I am planning, which will also feature the guardian angels (birth partners and midwife) and other characters in the process of this experience.
She Walks Among Us
I made this painting a long time ago, from a quick outline doodle I’d drawn of someone I saw in the street. I used to display it at the Kew Studio, in the staircase gallery, where the staff at the nursery on the ground floor would turn it round to face the wall.
Presumably they thought it was too much for the small children to bear seeing, but I was quite surprised by their reaction. Obviously it was really the women themselves who were upset: I can’t see how a two- or three-year-old would even notice it or be in the least bit offended or traumatised by this very plain silhouetted figure.
This painting was also listed on ebay as part of my studio clear-out earlier this year, but it was one of the few that wouldn’t sell, despite being listed repeatedly. So there she sat in the ‘what to do with these’ box for another few months.
At that stage she didn’t have a halo or any words, but after becoming pregnant for the first time this year I have become more interested in art relating to pregnancy and birth. This has led to an exploration of various ancient and modern iconic images and figures of pregnant and birthing women, and this painting seemed to me to be part of this tradition. I felt as though I had already seen the birth goddess without realising it, so I wanted to bring her into my icon collection.
The addition of Rhine Gold dust from the Greenshop, applied to a coating of size, has turned her into the goddess she clearly always was.
If you are in town, come along and have a look around
You’re invited to join me for a drink and a look around at my studio on London Road in Stroud. It will be open on Friday 23rd August 6-8pm and again on Saturday morning 10-12. Pop in on your way to the market or after work on Friday.
The studio is around the back of London Road, in the car park near the exit of the Brunel multistorey parking. (Turn in from the Waitrose roundabout).
New work for a project ‘This is my religion’ involving a series of icons is in progress, and I’ve also been working on poetry paintings and a couple of portraits.
Once again medicine has come to my aid so here is my tribute.
The twin antibiotic for amoxicillin-resistant bacteria