Diary of an Exhibition – ‘Homeward Bound’ Sea Chest

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‘Homeward Bound’

 

I painted the inside image on the old sailors sea chest on Xmas Day and today, Boxing Day. I am home alone with a throat and chest infection. Painting a box, when my voice box is not functioning seems apt.

 

The title is ‘Homeward Bound’ and is in memory of dad, it would have been his birthday today. A memory box on Boxing Day.

 

As I painted I also started to remember my tutor at Epsom School of Art, in 1982,  the infamous performance artist, Kerry Trengove (1946 – 1991). Kerry once said to me ‘You will know that art IS your life when you paint on Christmas day.’ I remember being quite shocked by his statement. Who paints on Christmas day my 18 year old self wondered.

 

I thought about Kerrys influence too … How small moments in time, single sentences even, can have  a huge impact. Losing your voice makes you think about having one.  In 1977 Kerry created an endurance work ‘Eight Day Passage’ where he was buried in a small cell under the Acme Gallery in London and had to dig his way out. Buried alive… a rebirth…

 

The second angel on the lid was painted this morning, listening to the radio – memories and music of George Michael who died on Xmas day. Wham was definitely one of the soundtracks of art school days in the 80’s.

 

And so this box lid IS about death …

I had a dream a couple of nights ago that dad needed help to get ‘home’. He was very sick before he died in June, and the transit to fully embody as a spirit has been slow, the dream told me. The angels on the box are to help him on his passage. Homeward Bound we will all be one day… We don’t know when. May our passage be smooth.

 

This box has been here longer than me and hopefully will last longer too. It has already seen many lives, losing it’s own life as a tree, to become a sea chest.

 

Someone asked me a few days ago,  why are you wanting to paint on the inside, no-one can see the painting.

That to me is the point – a surprise, a secret, a hidden something…

A metaphor for the mystery of life …

The body as a container of life …

The mysterious workings under the lid …

The journey everyday to be at home inside ourselves …

 

This may all sound gloomy and odd to you, but really despite physically being unwell over this festive period my spirit has been peaceful and serene and painting the image gave me a feeling of joy, hope and renewal for the coming new year.

 

 

 

 

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(The Chest  when I bought it, painted in blue gloss paint! I distressed it with several layers of chalk paint and wax and lots of elbow grease sanding a few days ago. Under the blue gloss was white gloss and under that yellow! I think the finish I have given it looks antique now. In keeping with the actual age of the chest, revealing some of the antique pine. I will probably sand back some of the image inside when I am well. I like the way the surface of the chest echoes the surface of the sea in the oil painting.)

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