I like my houses to have a little character. There are a couple I have bought that have so much character no self respecting doll would live there. Safe to say a couple are derelict. In this post I feature two that are very run down indeed, left to get wet in garages and dirty loft spaces, irresistible to me. I rarely put anything in the rooms as I like the empty haunted house feeling of them, but not too long ago I came across some furniture and had a go at decorating a couple of rooms. My other doll houses are quite jolly by comparison 🙂
Here is an old photo of my first Brussels Griffon Bumble, sitting like a hairy Godzilla in the middle of our fairy village. We lived with our grandparents and my grandmother wanted a model village. These houses may well have been purchased from Woolworths, they were made from a grey rubbery material and spray painted to look like Cotswold stone. I was totally taken by these houses, I did notice that the doors and windows didn’t open and that the houses themselves were really fakes s bendy, but maybe the fairies wouldn’t ! We left flowers and food out for the fairy host that we were certain lived there, at night I would listen for activity, and in the dark of night I would stare out of the window to watch for movement , which I often did, because if you stare hard in the half light your eyes make shadows and lights …
Thinking so much about houses and their meaning for me has brought me back to this village. It was so exciting, full of potential and ultimately disappointing when I realised that the fairies weren’t as silly as I thought they were, they obviously found better housing somewhere else ( with doors that opened for instance ). All of this has fed into my work I now realise. I have a resistance to putting windows and doors onto my house shapes when I paint, one of those little hurdles we all come across in our work that are personal to us … Fascinating where it all comes from , what strange creatures we are 🙂
Here is a photo of my husbands latest creation. He doesn’t really consider them as dollhouses, the rooms lift out as containers/drawers for something, but the room are not set up to play with dolls in.
houses are figuring greatly in our lives, the paintings , the dollhouses and my mothers dementia. Mums house was sold when she went into care. It exists in her memory of course, and she roams around it mentally everyday, but the home / house itself no longer exists. My sister found that her house has been demolished and two new buildings have gone up in its place. Chilling. To think that it is no longer a place she can return to other than her memory ( and ours). There seems to be some sort of metaphor between my mothers closed off rooms, no longer for playing / living in, and my husbands latest creation, but honestly I find it too difficult to elaborate on…
love the dollshouse though. He is a very clever man 🙂
Trying to avoid mentally putting myself in my mothers emotional places of peril. To that end I imagined a safer more enveloping space. It turned out dark again though. Making this piece was a little like building with blocks, adding,subtracting,balancing and engrossing. I feel it’s a little clunky but totally took my attention whilst I was making it, which is just what I needed 🙂
Latest painting about my mother.
Mum lives in a fluctuating state of fear, she worries about me, or my dogs being in accidents. She worries about having responsibility for others which is a burden to her. Some months ago she was worried about how to evacuate the home in case of fire. On one occasion ( there have been quite a few others) she called the fire brigade as there were moths on fire floating around and was very frightened that they would set the home on fire and no-one was listening to her…. One example of her visual hallucinations being very real to her.
We have had to change her phone to one that only accepts calls at the request of the emergency services
These two paintings are still about my mothers Dementia. She has Lewey Bodies dementia, which means she has auditory and visual hallucinations . Currently she is seeing places she has lived overlapping the place she lives now. Which means she is constantly lost, and finds her way barred by objects that shouldn’t be there, her world is fractured and unfamiliar. I’m not trying to paint her experiences, just really offloading my emotions on to canvas…
This little black and white piece is a monoprint with collage elements and spray paint. I haven’t been able to use the studio as much as I would like this summer, family commitments and holidays have eaten into my time. The crow decoys that I have in my studio crowd around a life sized mannequin ho keeps me company now… A murder of crows? An accusation of Ravens,? I know that I’m beginning to feel frustrated at not getting on with more work, no deadlines or any other pressures other than my own addiction to making work, and I’m having withdrawal symptoms . I hope everyone else is having a productive summer … Have fun! 🙂
This weekend I had an email requesting a studio visit. The lady had been to a local restaurant where I hang my work and had bought a painting. Both she and her friend would love to see more of my work at the studio if they could.
I went in to meet them and they had a look through all of my work. They asked to see larger / smaller work, did I have any blue/grey paintings? Abstract? Boats? In the end they chose 3 paintings that they liked ( I even split a diptych) and asked if I could hold on to them while they spent some time in town as they were just visiting and wanted to have a look around. The woman who had bought a painting the previous evening asked if I would mind if she swapped the one she had chosen for another she had seen there as it would go so well with the one she had just seen and that they would pop back to the restaurant now and change/collect her purchase.
I waited all afternoon, they didn’t comeback and a call to the restaurant told me that she hadn’t taken any painting at all…..
I had an email late afternoon to say sorry, they had changed their mind.
I’m not sure what was going on, was it an afternoons entertainment, a bit of buyers remorse after perhaps a little too much wine? All I know is I felt a little foolish and embarrassed … Had they decided not to buy anything at all because they hadn’t liked me, or that all of my work seen together just dispirited them? Ridiculous I know, but it was a very strange day.
On another note… Researching information on my mothers dementia, memory problems in general, I was reminded of Odins ravens Huginn( thought) and Muninn ( memory) and had a try at a painting. I have paired it with the painting I tripped over when I broke my shoulder…I think I have found the seeds of a new batch of paintings. What a very strange few days it has been 🙂