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Drawing in Graphite


This is the first part of a series based on menopause. I apologise for it being so scary, but it is about menopause and this is extremely scary for woman.

In a world where society has elevated fertility and beauty to such a massive degree in magazines television and social media, and then these issues are tempered with at the age of menopause many women are devastated.

I battled with menopause symptoms that deal with mobility and so could not bash through the weight gain and muscle loss as I would have in the past with sport and other severe activity.

I couldn’t believe that the universe was being so callous and mean to woman yet again. As if periods, sexual harassment, childbirth etc was not enough. I went deeply into the meaning of this picture once it was completed and realised it’s meaning after reading a book called ‘Hagitude’ by, which explains the symbolism that came from this picture.

The old woman is crawling towards the viewer, intensely almost stalking with a magnetic force that is so unsettling . The viewer desperately wants to look away and is repulsed by odd body shape, messy hair and deformed breasts. The symbolic menopause creeping up on us looking us squarely in the face is relentless.

But this is not what menopause is about. Menopause is about change symbolised by the butterflies. The old woman crushes a butterfly but the butterfly chrysalis’ are developing in her hair. She cannot dodge the change. The skull also in her hair is symbolic of death. This is the death of fertility and beauty which society has conditioned us to believe.

And so, at long last woman can become true to herself without these preconditioned concepts. It is also a crowning of the female individual symbolised by the crown which is placed on the skull at in a nonchalant manner, as she really is accepting ‘no more rubbish from anyone’. She can now grow to become a true queen in her own right.

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500mm x 1220mm      Mixed media        April 2021

The marabou stork represents new beginnings and recuperation. After 2020 this is much needed. But often these plans are left to fate and end up being fake hopes, as seen in the House of Cards.

The House of Cards represents good news that turns to false rumours. I feel that this can often be caused by self-sabotage and in turn caused by a negative devotion to humility. Inappropriate humility plays a huge part in keeping us down and underachieving, so that new beginnings cannot be achieved.

We often cannot lift ourselves to another level because we are brainwashed with this humility throughout our lives. Sometimes it can be turned to shame and lack of self-esteem. In this painting humility is shown as being burnt into the wood, along with life’s patterns which is based on a Celtic triskele and represents continuous movement or continuous moving forward.

I have taken charge of this House of Cards and propped it up with sticks and stones so that it cannot fall easily.

The painting is done in mixed media and I used a blow torch to burn the background and pyrography tools to burn the pattern. I used thick paint on the stalks feathers to bring it into our reality. He stands watch over the cards but is also removed from any interaction with the cards which shows the cards being left to the demise to fate. The perspective of the cards is deliberately tampered with to show their instability and how precarious the whole scenario is.

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This weekend, the gallery started to look much better. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel now. Still got little bits to tidy up but I think it will be an ongoing process of change due to the nature of the project. The flooring arrives today so hold thumbs that all this will be correct and that I will be on schedule for Saturdays big open day, which will go ahead no matter what….floor or no floor. I am off to do a little bit of shopping today and might spoil myself with a lovely coffee somewhere quaint. Timmy the gallery dog was not impressed this weekend with our treasure that we found while tidying up this weekend. We laughed , he did not.

Bah Humbug

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