Over the last year the subject matter for my paintings has shifted from the mystical to the personal. Having experienced a lot of loss in my romantic life of late, I have found it extremely therapeutic to pour my experience out of my chest and onto a canvas, bringing life and shape to the abstract feelings of grief, emptiness, pain and confusion that come at the end of a relationship.
Anatomical heart sketch
Clockwork heart sketch…
Back in the summer, I fell very hard for a man who protected himself from the world’s machinations by becoming entirely emotionally unavailable. He had suffered a great deal of loss in his life and had chosen this way as a survival tactic. He also had nearly died from a heart infection a few years before, and had open heart surgery to replace the infected valve. In a quiet room, you can hear it ticking. With my keen/obsessive eye for symbolism I began sketching out ideas. When in the late winter our relationship reached its explosive conclusion due to a complete lack of compatibility, I started this cathartic process.
Never The Same Acrylic on board 10 x 25cm
As both a strident feminist who believes is celebrating the culturally feminine, and as a proud and overtly girlie-girl, it is important to me to always include an element of the twee to my work. Therefore my sketches of hearts became a cartoony mish-mash of the anatomical and the symbolic.
I can only apologise to anyone who feels their privacy violated by this project. I aim to keep things as cryptic as possible but sometimes the work comes out a little more literal and, much as a songwriter might pen painfully honest lyrics about their experience, so I have chosen to squeeze out every last drop of sadness into this body of work.
I Can’t Grow A New Heart work in progress. Acrylic on canvas 20x20cm
This painting is around 90% finished, although every time I look at it I see new things to re-do! I did this in one 5 hour session. Sometimes your muse grabs you and the work just pours out of you!
‘Broken and Useless’ Acrylic on canvas 35 x 45cm
My work always starts out so messy! That’s just my process, though, and I’m not embarrassed to show the world! This was around 5 hours again. A lot of work is required to tidy it up and finish it, but the groundwork is there.
I have planned between 7 and 10 paintings for this project and a potential place to exhibit them in a few months (although I won’t say any more because I don’t want to jinx it!). Its strange how such deeply painful subject matter can be such a joy to paint. Perhaps it’s the alchemy of turning something tragic into something beautiful that really feels empowering.