Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Changeling Tree

A Changeling poses as a child to dish out hard lessons to unsuspecting humans. More about the Changeling can be found here. This archetype is about mischief and challenging ideas about our identity.

The Changeling Tree, Ink and watercolour of watercolour paper, A2 size. September 2018

My painting is about shapeshifting and the multiple aspects of self...Among them is the one that just wants to be quiet and hibernate, the beast that is wild and unapologetic, and the creature that is too scared to reach for the next branch.

When I am feeling stuck I can usually locate the problem in identifying solely with one of these beings. The narrative becomes one dimensional, cyclical, predictable.

What characters are absent from your story at the moment? What perspectives are missing?

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Painting rocks and returning home

There is something soothing about walking on the beach, shifting from one rock to another, carefully steadying yourself with each step. It is an experience that grounds me.

Nestled in roots
The process of rock painting starts with searching for a stone that is egg-like, womb-like, or one that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. My rock paintings of fetuses represent reverence for inner worlds. 

Painting on rocks allows my art to have a tangible quality that can be stuffed in a pocket, hidden in a forest or nestled among sentimental treasures. They have an informal quality to them, far from the mounted and framed presentation that feels a little too sanitised. 

fetal position 
I guess I like my art dirty. When an artwork is framed, It is distanced from its messy origins. It is cleaned up and ready to decorate someone’s room or be scrutinised by an educated few; destinations which suggest that art is not an everyday experience.

Changelings at play

When I return my painted rocks to the woodland they are rejuvenated by the sights, smells and sounds of the place. I think that the presentation and exhibition of a work of art needs to feel like it’s home. That is, a place that is congruent with its origins. A place where it’s message can be planted and nurtured to grow.

In the woodland, at rest.

Monday, 2 July 2018


The act of being submerged in water represents rebirth into a life dedicated to Christianity. In Jungian psychology, water is symbolic of our emotions. Its constant state of flux represents our shifting moods. From streams to lakes, canals to rivers, water eventually makes its way to a larger body. My depiction of a baptism symbolises dedication to the vast seas of the psyche.

Baptism, Ink and emulsion on A2 watercolour paper.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Fear to Tread - A story untold.

In the battle known as Passchendaele, mother nature unleashed relentless rain on the soldiers. Many men and their horses drowned as the trenches turned into quagmires. The land shifted at natures will....along with the very meaning of war, power, and survival. 

Whilst the death of soldiers is always tragic, it feels inevitable in such circumstances. It is a sacrifice these men have chosen. Horses, on the other hand, did not choose such an end. Horses possess a muscular structure and strength that means they have been suited to serve man for centuries in war, and in our domestic lives. They are such beautiful animals, regal and robust. They have long been dragged into the quarrels of mankind. In this event, they are literally pulled into the muck. 

I was touched by what happened to the horses and wanted to honour their experience with a painting.  Fear to Tread shows them lined up, approaching the swamp. Some are writhing, snarling, struggling. Others look directly at us,  gracefully accepting this end as part of their service.

This Painting is available to buy on my Etsy shop

Fear to Tread, Ink, and Emulsion on paper, A1 size. December 2013.

A4 print of Fear to Tread

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Crucible

A Crucible is a container where intense heat and pressure makes way for transformation. This idea is often borrowed as a metaphor for the therapeutic relationship in psychotherapy, which is curious as it does not necessarily suggest the nurturing space you might expect. 

The Crucible. Ink and Emulsion on A2 paper,
April 2018.
This painting holds both aspects of a Crucible - It is tough, risky. Things might need to be burned and destroyed. At the same time, we gather around a fire for warmth and survival.

Who/ What / Where is your crucible?

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Reviving the Bones

Clarissa Pinkola Este’s work is truly life-enhancing. Anyone who has read anything she has written, or better yet listened to her audiobooks, will know that her stories shake you to the core. There are so many moments where I have to pause and let her words sink in. A CPE story that really stirs me is The Skeleton Woman. It is about a fisherman who catches a Skeleton woman with his hook; he is fearful but later falls in love which results in her reanimation. The story inspired a painting that I finished this Easter weekend, a befitting time for thinking about the symbolic meaning of resurrection.
Skeleton Woman, Ink and emulsion on A2 paper. I hope to take a better photo soon!
The story tells us about what can happen when a man sees a woman in one dimension. The fisherman is taken by surprise when the skeleton woman evolves from a passive bag of bones into an unapologetic, primal woman. This aspect of the story calls us to think about the death of illusions and fantasies in a relationship. Women and men are both subject to lazy assumptions about each other when in fact we are are all complex; the real work of a relationship is unfolding each other’s layers.

As well as the stories commentary on romantic relationships, it also stands as a reminder that a woman’s primal nature is indestructible. Despite injury and loss, bones withstand the test of time and can be reinvigorated with love.  

Like the fisherman, I’ve become quite fond of the skeleton woman. She is terrifying and vulnerable. I want to drag her out of the fishing net and reassemble her. She stands for a part of me that is dying and reawakening at the same time. 

'The life/death/life nature is a cycle of animation, development, decline, and death that is always followed by re-animation - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the wolves.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Expanding the landscape with portraiture

I wanted some portrait photos taken and without a second thought, I turned to Wicked Boy Photography. Bones can make almost anyone feel at ease in front of the camera and possesses a knack for capturing vulnerability. 

My idea was to simply take portrait photos in front of my paintings, pretty unremarkable. But, like any creative project, the true spark happens during the process. Before I knew it I had entered the night sky, the woods, the quagmires, and the ocean. It felt like I was expanding the images into three-dimensional worlds.

I have always found putting my creative ideas into words challenging, which is partly why I started this blog. This photoshoot reminded me that there is also a growing desire to speak, to narrate, and to perform. I hope that this project will be a catalyst for embracing the many ways I can convey my ideas outside of the relative safety of paint and ink. Having said that, I feel like ink runs through my veins... so I won't be giving it up anytime soon!
Taken in front of Two Moons, painted in March 2014.
Taken in front of Cernunnos, painted March 2017.
Taken in front of Fear to tread, painted in December 2013.
Taken in front of a work in progress.
Taken in front of Salvage, painted June 2016.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The sacred sleep

Whilst listening to Clarissa Pinkola Estes audiobook Theatre of the Imagination on my way to London the other week, I heard that bears often give birth during hibernation and return to sleep. This image would not leave me, as well as my curiosity about how this can even be possible.  Black bears give birth during winter hibernation and despite their reduced state of consciousness and heart rate, the bears are always alert to danger.

When I read this it struck a chord. The gestation stage has always been the most fascinating to me. There is something special about slowly growing in a safe container; it resonates with the stage I am at with my creative process. Gestation reflects the work that happens behind the scenes, the shape that takes form without anyone watching. We can witness gestation of human pregnancy is an indistinct scan, a blueprint for what is to come.

The natural phenomenon inspired me to paint my own conception of gestation. On a wintery day, the mother unknowingly gives birth to her baby, who is goes from its mother’s womb to the womb of the earth. They both rest quietly beneath the surface, waiting for the snow to melt and for it to be warm enough to rise. For me, this represents the journey of internal evolution. Like the journey through hibernation, it is both unconscious and watchful.
The Sacred Sleep, Ink and emulsion on A3 paper, January 2018.

Experiment with light, I love ink so much.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The eagles are coming

The inspiration for this painting comes from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, where eagles are super-sized and magical. Upon hearing Gandalf's whisper for help, they come swooping in to rescue him and his company. 

The Eagles, Ink, and emulsion on paper, December 2017.
An eagle's ability to fly gives them the advantage of seeing everything from above. It frees them from the constraints of being on solid ground where the perspective is smaller and more likely to become stagnant. What I love about the eagle scene in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie is that the Eagles appear at dawn, they soar amidst a warmly lit autumn landscape. Autumn is a time of decay, starting anew, and the beginnings of winter hibernation. For me, this scene symbolizes the meeting of the ordinary, steadfast, Bilbo Baggins who represents Earth; and the mysterious, wise energy of the Eagles that represent the element of Air. 

The Hobbit always reminds me to notice where my fears may be disguised as choices. Bilbo's journey helps him to rise above the mundane details of everyday life. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Little Mer People

I have always held hope that mermaids do in fact exist. Like the fearie realm, mermaids have a reputation for being fluffy, cute, and a bit silly.  I believe that most naive and playful of things have so much to teach us. 

Like the unconscious, our vast seas are yet to be explored fully. At the very bottom of oceans an alien world exists, luminescent and transparent creatures of curious shapes, slinking about with no eyes. It is hard to imagine that we share anything in common with these aliens.

Little Mer People, Ink, pen and watercolour on A4. September 2017.
For me, ceatures that move between worlds - the alien, fantasy world and the human - have a deeper understanding of things. Mermaids represent the deep, womb like connection we all have to that which is beyond our intellectual grasp, but it is felt in our hearts. 

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