Some time ago I was given a copy of Barbara Blackman’s ‘The Little Lives of Certain Chairs: A Table or Two: And Other Inanimates of Our Acquaintance,’ which has become one of my most treasured possessions. First published in 1968, throughout the chapters Blackman paints a vivid picture of a life lived with her children and husband, in many cities in various parts of the world, which centred around the ‘inanimates’ they collected or left behind.
I found many parallels with my life; the objects and furniture we collected, which then inspired our stories and enriched our memories. In my case it might be the Noah’s ark collected while living in Indonesia, or one of our many chairs, as I have incorporated those treasures, sketched or remembered, into my paintings.
Consequently I’m more conscious of the importance of the presence of the chair, the interior and the built environment and how people and nature interact with them.
More recently, those objects and subjects are being threaded in with ‘the narrative’ – stories born again from my travels and from literature.
The Ladder from the Sanctuary of Nymphe is one example. When in Athens about ten years ago and in the newly opened Acropolis museum, I discovered amongst other treasures a tiny golden votive ladder. After learning more about its origin, it has begun to appear every now and then in my paintings. I also found much inspiration in the museum building itself; built over the top of newly discovered ruins, and exposing them through its glass floor.
In spite of their size, these often tiny, seemingly insignificant objects and images provide me with continued inspiration.