I've felt the need for a larger canvas for some time. This may be cheating, but the creativity of my last nine months has been extraordinarily large, even for me. I left New Zealand to return to my family in London on Christmas Eve 2021. By the end of March, we'd sold up in London and bought a house in Upton Scudamore in Wiltshire just in time for UK Spring 2022.
It has been interesting just how much it's felt like making a painting, pushing and pulling materials from there to here. A forgotten painting, made of the very last passionflowers in my 2019 garden, matched the new textiles in our Snug. A "wasteland" of a garden behind our new house has to be recomposed, stones built up and beds populated with plants for next Spring. I know why gardeners don't paint with a brush...
Will I pick up my brush in the new studio and find mastery arising from this absence of fine art-making? I certainly feel expanded and renewed. This is hardly surprising (and I feel so grateful at present that it would be a good time to ask me for a favour) as these months have included silent retreats and even more house shopping. I came away from St Beuno's in Rhyl, North Wales, with a clear sense of God's challenge to adventure within.
Considering my global travels, that's something of an irony, but I feel more than ever the call to share with others how to access their inner artist. It is always so sad to me when I hear "I cannot draw". What they mean is, no one has ever taught me how to appreciate my unique way of making art. One cannot teach what one has not received and so Ignatian imaginative prayer becomes as much a focus for me as my art technique classes once did in London.
But why stop there? I am also experimenting with a new art form rooted in Egyptian encaustic (wax and pigment) portrait-making and Medieval iconography (gold and oil). A commission arrived today as I decided and so my vision is for 24 paintings, each one depicting images within a theme narrating the Christian New Testament. My dream is that they will be more than images; that they might convey something of the spiritual atmosphere in which I created them.
Passionflowers in a developing theme, Wiltshire 2022