enter 24th December 1686
enter 24th December 1686
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.
'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).
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.
In the first moments I can recall, I remember pretending to be asleep whilst I lay in my bed wild awake often staring at the moon. The moon helped me to drift off into dreamtime where I could visit worlds that I would later grow up and transform into some sort of reality. When I was only 5 years old I stared at the moon so long one night that it became a ball of fire hurtling towards me and almost landed in my lap. Sometimes I have wished I hadn't closed my curtains so quickly in fear of that. I wonder if that moonbeam could have taken me home. I've never yet felt at home here.
In the other reality of growing up I was born into some sort of ongoing TV soap drama, or otherwise warped black comedy on 24 December 1969.
My first experience of school was pretty extroardinary. Nobody would tell me their name because being a Londoner then I was deemed a foreigner when I arrived in Hastings at 5 years of age. I had my first experience of racial separationat Elphinstone Infants School snd it was harsh. Nobody would tell me their name. I found it difficult to make friends.
One day when leaving the classroom when I was the last to be let out the door, in my exacerbation to make friends something came over me of which I had no control. Before I knew it even I had taken it upon myself to upturn the other kids just sprouting watercress seedlings, drowning their little shoots in little piles of compost, as we went out to play and I was at the back of the queue.
My apparent revenge (if you can call it that) was short lived and I was hauled up to the headmistress for my defiance.I tried to explain that I wanted to know who the plants belonged to. In my mind I had watched them growing and recognised to whom the best seedlings belonged. It was just simply for me a way of learning the names of my potential class mates, as we had all written our names on stickers underneath those plastic cups, since this event still challenges me and I often wish to have not done what I did that someday that would always haunt me.
This memory would slip my young mind only until I moved school about a year later and opposite to a Mormon church, where the tempting playground of wooded camp land lured me with my friends to build camps on every sunny day. We got to know when members of the congregation wouldn't be there and mostly got away with building camps and tree forts in the woodland. One day I got caught though and a hoard of Mormons took to chasing me off their land. I fell and got a stone stuck in my knee and had to go to hospital to have it removed and left with a nasty scar to remind me of the event.
As an apology to my parents, my sister and I were invited to eat cake and play with the Mormon children. I remember thinking that a caning would have been more tolerable since I had mastered being at the whip end of the lash by this time. Once in the confines of their place of worship my thoughts would be confounded. We were admonished for trespassing and made to say their prayers before being forced to sit and watch a Mormon film about their religious rape across the Americas, We didn't get any cake, or a drink even and I left their church more defiant than ever.
Well, that is how I remember it.
By the time I was approaching puberty I had acquired an intense dislike of other children around me. The boys seemed to stink of wee, play with their willies all the time and scrap continually over marble matches. I was very proud to excel at winning their marbles, and conkers as it goes. The girls used to parade their developing breasts in front of my then flat chest. I consoled myself that aerodynamically I would be better at sports than they were, and I was. This cynicism was kept close to my chest, a survival mechanism that helped me to cope with the other harsh realities that I had no control over.
Most of the adults around me, in my eyes lived everything but honest lives, extolling the virtues of manipulation, power and greed, often capitulating religion and their political viewpoints whatever they were, justifying themselves and their faults before church on Sunday where the local priest would undoubtedly give them forgiveness, through varying degrees of the Christian idendity they had adopted as their disguise. This was a point in my life when I really began to understand people and the paradoxical universe of my ideas that I was reeling from seeing at too young an age. I was having too grow up too quickly and I knew it too.
Manufactured Killer Warrior from of a series of work with collage and paint 2008
By the time I was 11 years old I found myself inspired to do drawings of the naked body. The unique individuality of every human form held some fascination for me that I wanted to study. I used to go to the library and get scores of books so that I could copy naked figures from them. Round about the same period I also started to write a diary called 'The story of Joy' it was my secret autobiography as an abused and resilient child. I remember spending an enormous amount of time drawing a self portrait on the front cover. It was a tragic piece of artwork really. On one side of the face a portrait of me the crying girl while the other side revealed hope for a life I wanted for and hadn't yet experienced. It was the only finished portrait I ever did, and only my mother knows where these artworks during this period of my life disappeared to.
My nudes remained generally expressionless, often headless and I avoided becoming a portrait artist hereon. For me the posture and gesture of the body is a portrait in itself. Faces just there to confuse and mislead the onlooker.
Soon after this period I would earn myself the notoriety of becoming Hastings then youngest Queens guide. It was such a relief to have achieved my goal and then quietly remove myself from the clutches of the church and a God that despite my efforts I found I had to eventually pretend to believe in. I was thirteen, I had become sacrosanct to myself. I was done with religion. Everybody seemed to find a God when they are about to lose their life or its purpose, and nobody else will listen to their woes. That was then of course. I am somewhat more philosophical now.
Following this I would endure what seemed like endless malicious spite in an all girls school. I learned to smoke and get in with a tougher crowd, and became a bit of a tomboy. At the end of school I went to Hastings College to get what is now a useless diploma qualification in Graphic Design, and then quickly moved on to suffer a 14 year relationship with a control junkie. The trials and tribulations of being mother to three children and a victim would follow. But no matter what happened to me what an inspiration to my life my children were, have always been and are, giving me the courage and strength to beleive in my dreams.
During my motherhood years, I painted murals, worked for the theatre and went to university to study for an institutional art degree. I say institutional because all it did for me was take me further away from myself as an artist and mould me into rigid conceptualism.
Nowadays I see that what they tried to teach me as an artist dominates the arts arena globally. I don't consider myself a contextualised artist though. Contexualisation is just like putting make-up on. A false gloss over the real subject.
I was asked to leave KIAD (on reflection it was a fortunate happening) due to my domestic situation outside causing me a great deal of stress at the time. I was offered to return and finish at a later date, but I never did. In On reflection now I feel I was spared the grace of having my natural thoughts stifled in writing endless essays that I knew I wouldn't be stalwart with at a later date.
Following this I would become a teacher and work at Hastings College under the auspices of continual inspections by Ofsted, administrative line managers and the such like, This hindering us teachers with tiresome excessively anal workloads, and I was a only part timer. The rest of my working days spent studying for an irritating Phd, which only took me away from the joy of teaching at all. To be fair my peers in the art department were amongst the most supportive people I have ever met in my career, and in retrospect I can look back fondly at the times I worked there and the friends I made.
I have arrived at a point in my life where I often wonder what it takes to make a true artist since everyone seems to be calling themselves an artist these days but then having said that I like to think that a world where everyone is capable of explororing their imaginations is a more harmonious one.
It is my succinct belief that a true creative individual holds the key to inspiring others to create around them. He/she does not see the world as black and white but is prepared to explore and interpret the shades of grey and beyond in between.
I wonder what is a question? What senses are being touched when I look at a work of art. Then I wonder what is a work of art? Does it touch the senses, or explore something beyond that or what am I contributing myself as an artist by painting like this at all? From a more philosophical perspective I find questions are annoying, leading and imposing unless I am asking or seeking the answers for the improvement of a better whole truly exceptional picure of everything around us all.
I have come to learn that to turn a phase around is to look at the reflection of your mind. To turn everything frat to bunt and start again from the beginning where you find yourself in a place where you can reinvent everything you desire.
To delight and enlighten the senses and imaginations of the viewer is key to my work. That means breaking any rules and being a true artist to myself first, before I can be an artist for anyone else.
Perhaps this makes me an outsider in the scheme of things, but what a brilliant place to be as I am a happy artist now and nothing eludes my imagination and ability to perceive the world as it it really is according to you.
* I would like to add that this article contains purely personal remarks, based on my childhood and life experiences. I am not an atheist or accepting of any label title I may be given. This is for the benefit of the person/s who have been hacking my website, in case you happen to be a misguided worshipper, think I am a Hippocratic (that's OK), or maybe simply misdirected or jealous of my superior talent lol*
Vibrant, translucent colours, and a beauty in painting that can only be achieved in the effects created by it's material and the manner in which it is treated.
I am an accomplished silk painter with 15 years experience in this field. As a media this has allowed me to express my love of using tropical bright colours and the play of a definitive outline. I often use it as a means of mapping my designs for other paintings.
Today the ancient art of silk painting is increasing in popularity as an art form due to changes in techniques and materials available to the artist and varying techniques can be applied.
With modern dyes and paints and a variety of different silk fibres the design possibilities are limitless.
In my work, using a medium-weight Habotai silk, Pébéo, Setasilk, Deka, (and other iron-fixed silk paints), clear water solvent gutta and in some paintings diffusers as the resist, in order to develop a technique that can hide the resist lines.
This works particularly well when creating a landscape painting on silk for example.
I can work lightly with the brushes and colours creating results that are more free flowing and fluid.
In other examples I use coloured gutta to highlight the resist lines for a more modern and bold image of my designs. This gives me the opportunity to approach my ideas more boldly with strong vivid swirls of vibrancy.
When I first started painting on silk and I saw how the colour flowed into the fabric, the exciting possibilities of the medium inspired me. I tried out various styles and subjects finding that tropical themes, colourful flowers and birds best suited my approach to silk painting due to the depth I wanted to create and the richness of my colour mixing.
My designs are mostly figurative; I like to explore themes for every type of audience and varying tastes in colour and design.
Although most of my painting is detailed and controlled, I like to experiment. I make a mental note of how I produce the various effects so that I can use them later in my other paintings.
The finished pictures are carefully stretched and mounted on acid-free board and then framed for exhibition, in high-quality solid wood frames ready for hanging.
Images of my paintings are also available as greetings cards.
Commissions can be undertaken on all subjects suitable for rendering on silk.
A selection of limited edition prints and price list for artworks is available on request. Contact
I am a multi media artist, a surrealist and an abstract expressionist. Others describe me this way, which I like, so as not to be pigeon holed. I enjoy letting my imagination run away with itself.
Working for too long in any particular genre, for me, causes a feeling of stagnation. Surrealism is an attractive influence to my thoughts and ideas, as much as my desire to bring about an awareness of rules and confines of systems that I have come to learn that operate us.
I have learned that I am in control of that as much as my mind will allow my hands to push my paintbrushes or pen, and there can't be any rules in this place.
I came to realise that in order for me to convey a sense of mystery and wonder to the viewer, that they need to make a connection with the work in front of them. To realistically achieve this I have to be inspired by something I am trying to share through my work and the viewer needs a focal point in order for it to become a form of communication.
I try to be objective about how I see the world. This can be a struggle sometimes because I generally get frustrated by the ignorance of the world around me. I suppose many of my paintings are about personal duality too, for me like a meeting in the middle. My life skills, views, travel, and experiences, are therefore quite apparent in much of the work that I do.
I am most comfortable when painting on a large scale, preferably wall size, murals and backdrops. Such commissions enable me to convey my huge imagination and artistic license more effectively. I have currently run out of wallspace of my own.
I aim through my work to encourage people to think about their thinking sometimes by engaging the viewer with a variety of views, like through a kaleidoscope. Creatively, it has been a fun journey so far.