I was chatting with some old friends on Facebook about our A level art class, as one of them shared a photo of our art room and it brought back so many good memories, not least listening to the Stone Roses and the Pixies on the cassette player whilst we painted and experimented. It was 1990 after all.
I don’t think we realised quite how lucky we were, we had a wonderfully supportive teacher, we supported each other and the whole atmosphere was one of creative experimentation. I think four of us still work in the creative industries, I would love to catch up with them in real life some time!
I thought it was interesting to see what themes that interested me as a teenager still interest me now.
I’ve always been interested in performers and theatre, I still am, and particularly in the tension between the glamour of the stage and the more seamy reality of backstage.
I was lucky that my friend (it’s her and I in the picture) was doing A-level drama and was a member of a local theatre company so we went backstage and I took lots of photos while we sifted through the costumes , having great fun trying them on.
I hadn’t really painted much, so was much more comfortable using pastels.
These bits of work were for a project on ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’. I was in a bit of a rebellious phase at my Catholic School, enjoying partying and socialising. I drew and painted portraits warped in the curved reflective surface of a kettle to represent ‘Pride’, and drew an expressive pastel in bright colours when I was very angry to show ‘Anger’. I put these together in one large painting, basically a bunch of acrylic selfies painted over printouts of the seven deadly sins.
I don’t really feel the need to explore this theme specifically any more as my lifestyle is a lot more sedate(!) but I still like projecting themes onto myself on my husband through portraits and figure studies.
And lots of figure studies – If you paint people you need to practise constantly as it’s a skill you quickly lose. This is when I first began to paint the life model, at evening classes after school. This still forms a big part of what I do.