My daughter Joni was born on 3 November 2016, later that week Donald Trump was elected as President of the U.S.A. Shocked and in disbelief, I found it hard to process the news. All of a sudden the ideas I had for my next art project didn’t seem to be urging me on with quite as much force anymore.
The enormity of the Trump thing is terrifying, it is like a permanent heartache, a niggling worry, I go about my daily life and occasionally I forget, but it always comes back. I’m not ready to make any work about it yet, perhaps I never will. But the arrival of Trump, combined with the arrival of Joni have somehow meant that I am not ready to make the work I had planned to make during my maternity leave.
I’ve always got a billion ideas buzzing around in my mind, the installation I want to make, the 25 colour screen print that I can visualize layer by layer, the T-shirt project! The series of paintings. But they all need money, and they all need time.
The arrival of baby Joni has brought so much joy, the days are filled with precious and magical moments, but each day and week is also filled with frustration, repetition and tiredness. Whilst having a rare moment to sit down with a cup of tea, in amongst piles of laundry, in between feeds and after multiple nappy changes, I find myself staring at instagram accounts of artists, consumed by an overwhelming feeling of wanting to paint. Daydreaming about the unknown future point in time when I can make that installation, and finally finish that painting series that I’ve been planning for so long.
So I started painting with what I had, limited resources and limited time. Objects from around the home, painted quickly - 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Whilst Joni sleeps. I painted the washing hanging on the clothes rail, the bouncy chair (the pram in the hallway?!).
I’m not sure yet what these paintings are, or what they are leading to. My artwork is usually an expression of my emotions, thoughts and opinions, it often comments on social injustice. During a time of political turmoil, these paintings don’t do that! But at least I am painting, and they are documenting a most precious and frustrating moment in time.
#domesticity #painting #motherhood #frustration #joy #wishing #hoping #daydreaming #longing