Case Studies

Case Study 1

This mixed media canvas painting is currently on display in St Mary in the Castle, Hastings. It is on view from the window from the seafront and graces the front entrance to this amazing historical building and centre for local arts.

'Jolt' is one of my personal favourites.

It was originally painted on reflection following a series of break ins to my home in 2002. I was later to be awarded a national bravery award for catching and detaining a very persistent and determined intruder who was a known and wanted criminal by the police. I received my award at the NCPO conference in Birmingham July 2003.

This painting was a reaction to these events and a total of 3 break ins within a couple of weeks. On one of these occasions the same guy had climbed a 60ft drainpipe to enter through the kitchen window. This was during the night when my children and I were asleep in our beds. This was most frightening as a single mother.

Following the events that led to his capture, which included being stalked by my ex partner on pretty much a daily basis, everyone was patting me on the back and praising me for my bravery. Nobody actually realised or seemed to be aware of quite how in shock I was. I guess I just bottled up my fears at the time and this is what came out.

My trust in society had seriously diminished at this juncture and I felt I had to make some sort of a statement about it.

So one day I woke up and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't really emerge from it until the following week. I ignored everyone but for one friend who came and sat in my bath for a day to keep me company and make me tea. I didn't speak, I couldn't, there was nothing to say as far as I was concerned. I just painted and it totally consumed me until it was done.

I can't say as the artist that I want to analyse what came out but I do accept that I was in an extremely emotive state of mind. I feel that it enabled me to develop a new technique with my work building up layer upon layer of paint and creating new hues and certain textures, whilst not really knowing whether I was constructing or building the canvas in front of me or whether I would ever consider it a finished piece.

Much of my subsequent works have been inspired as a result of Jolt which I consider to be one of my masters.

Case Study 2

'Time will tell' is another of my personal endeavors, and also painted as a reaction to some other traumatic events that I have experienced.

I was studying for a degree in fine art at the Kent institute of Art and Design in Canterbury at the time. I was mother to three small children and living in a womans refuge, in hiding from their father.

It was difficult to feel inspired and motivated to paint when the four of us were holed up in one dank room and unable to return home for fear of going on the missing list.

The room was pokey and dark and I would find it difficult to make a canvas that was big enough for me to paint out what I had to say about my relationship, the pain, the fear, the passion and the volitility. I decided to paint each of these four emotions on separate 3' x 2' canvases.

With my potential fate consuming my mind as it was I allowed the painting to become that which I could not verbalise.

Ironically Time will Tell made an impact in its first showing in an exhibition with the New Riviera Group, Hastings. Due to the interest and conversation that it raised, was later hired by the local CRI (Crime reduction Iniatiative) and placed in the offices of the domestic violence unit (1998-2008).

Case Study 3

Whilst teaching Art and Design at Hastings College I was asked by a colleague if I could do a commission for an autistic boy whom was in her care. He was described as extremely hyperactive and demanding and she wanted me to paint something therapeutic for him to look at in his room.

With knowledge of the behaviour of the boy and the foster mothers understanding of him, it was decided that I would do a very graphic landscape with sharp contrasting but calming colours.

Something like a Kamikaze sunset was the description that I was given and so that is exactly what I set out to do.

The idea was first discussed in 2002 and I painted a series of small studies before completing it during summer 2003. It was to be one of the most enhancing and demanding pieces of work for me to create. At first I built up the canvas by painting layer after fastidious layer to give it a perfectly smooth and gentle surface. It was recognising the point at which balance and harmony, colour and tone, were all in tune with each other, which was most difficult to decide. I had to use a very patient and calm approach to get this one right.

The client, to my knowledge has recently donated 'Kamikaze sunset' to St Mary in the Castle for permanent display.

Dodos Can Dance