ABOUT THE HEADS
ALL PAINTINGS ARE ON PAPER, MIXED MEDIA, VARIOUS SIZES (SEE ALL THE HEADS IN LINK ABOVE)
Having painted constantly for over 15 years, I realised late in 2014 I was creatively starting to feel stale and uninspired. I really wanted to do something different and push my paintings and myself in a new direction. With this in mind I joined a year long, one day a week course called The Confident Painter. I was required to choose a subject to use as inspiration for the year. I chose to paint something totally new and to paint heads and not just any heads but heads that express how I feel about dying, suffering and loss.
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was lucky it was caught early but I was prescribed the oral chemotherapy drug Tamoxifen for 5 years. It is said to increase my chance of survival but it has also been known to have many awful side effects including depression and a loss of interest in life. I chose not to take it and have been going down the alternative/complementary route re keeping myself alive and healthy. It's a scary road with no guarantees but let's face it neither road is one you would wish to have to take.
I feel these heads are a way for me to express my feelings about this matter and of course they also are expressions of other experiences that have touched my life. Pain and suffering happens to us all. Having an outlet to express it is really healing and I can honestly say I have enjoyed painting this series of work more than any other. I feel joyous when painting them and truly alive as though I am laughing in the face of death.
I work quickly without over thinking and I am often I am taken aback by what I have created!
I am also surprised by how many people have either loved them and want to purchase them or have found them deeply disturbing. As an artist, there is nothing better. You want your work to create an emotional response. I get a real thrill when people tell me they have been moved by these heads even if they have felt uncomfortable when looking at them. This means my work is communicating on a deep level, which is what most artists want their work to do. I celebrate this and it spurs me forward to continue with this project.
You can see a short film I made showcasing over 50 of the heads I have painted so far here
(For anyone with a cancer diagnosis, I have written a 45 page document filled with information that your doctors won’t be able to give you. It's based on many hours of research and personal experience. Please contact me if you would like a copy.)