I’m very happy, relieved and grateful to the Arts Council for awarding me funding from their Emergency fund, to help in these times of lockdown and the loss of income from many sources. I have been spending this time immersed in my work, enjoying my return to oil painting and working on a larger scale. I’ve also begun writing another book, which will explore my inner process and how it relates to, and is informed and energised by my painting and drawing.
In the Time of Coronavirus a Great Tit cheeps
The sparrows bathe, and rub their bellies in dust
I find a card in my notebook – it recalls the uncorrupted Tongue of St. Anthony; I remember visits to Padua, of the horse skeleton cradling the warrior; and Otranto Cathedral with the miraculous tenth century mosaic floor…I feel confined in my thoughts about travel being forbidden; I escape within.
We create in our bodies, in their bodies; the snake carries matter, undefined mass. Drawings from Otranto Cathedral, there’s a woman with a horse coming from one breast, and a snake from another. She is astride another creature.
My drawings of horses swallowing a vortex; a pregnant woman with many breasts rides a low-slung horse; she has a furry penis, and a long tail.
The horse I bred who died, I remember him, with pain, in my therapy time, just before lockdown. Loss is pain. My therapist speaks of sacrifice. I research horse sacrifice. The man uses a knife to cut just behind the breastbone, then plunges his arm in, severs the horse’s heart from all its connections, and pulls it out…(Jeremiah Curtin, A Journey into southern Siberia)… “The Altaic shamans of NE Asia, on the other hand, killed horses for ceremonial use by breaking their necks.” Or “No blood was spilled. The horse was skinned bloodlessly and its hide removed as completely as possible so that the form of the horse could be reconstructed by draping the hide over a bench or trestle…signified the presence of the animal as if it were alive, and at one stage of the ceremony the shaman mounted this effigy and pretended to ride it skyward.” The horses which were sacrificed were always pale grey, or white.
At home, I receive a look of anger, I turn away.
*I have a dream of looking up and seeing a glorious snake-dance above me. Two snakes are kissing, dancing, very erotically; I knew each snake’s body held a human (male and female, one in each). They were coloured like a clouded Leopard.
Standing on the tips of flowers in my drawings
The deathly male needs to come alive in order for the fertility to be activated. Part of me is not alive (yet). The penis still hooded. I remember Assisi and the reading about circumcising the heart, my shock at this notion, these words. I’d stood in a pure white room, simple, with an altar made of pale wood; it was early in the morning, and light streamed in. The monk stood beside me and spoke the words.
Part of me that has survived without the male needs to die in order for that other masculine to live (sacrifice? Ritual?).
This picture and another, below, have been accepted into this year’s Beep Painting Prize, in Wales; we are hoping this will go ahead in the Autumn of this year.