The purple-black arum lilies I bought from Dunkeld three weeks ago are still going, so I used the opportunity to paint a third today. Together with the first two, these form an unplanned triptych. The colours – black to purple to maroon – are wonderful to work with.
Red onion, 2010
I painted this red onion in around March 2010 and it remains one of my favourites. Another example of a painting that turned out better than I expected it to.
Last weekend I painted two versions of a dying rose. I had managed to find a fabulous dark brownish purple on sale at Clicks and I made plenty of use of it in these two works – so much so that I made a special trip to Clicks this week to get more.
You know how it happens. You’re sitting there, bored, there are lipsticks, there’s nice shiny cardboard your husband uses to make his architectural models and one thing leads to another. At the time I was taking a sabbatical to work on my PhD thesis – of course I did nothing – and when my husband left the country to look for work in London, I was at something of a loose end. Hence the lipstick.
The first paintings were of apples and roses. Then I graduated to peppers and chillies, and I stuck to these subjects for years. For a long time, I barely painted at all. It’s only in the past year that I have started to paint again, with the proverbial apples (I love painting apples) but also pomegranates, onions and dead roses. I’ve also begun to experiment with mixed media, combining lipstick with marker.
Just as the apples I paint refer to the myth of Adam and Eve, the pomegranates that are my subject matter include a reference to the myth of Persephone.
This painting was inspired by a buffalo skull hanging on the garage wall of my family’s bush lodge. It’s not about death, though at first glance that might seem to be the case – it’s more about enjoying the sculptural quality of the skull and its contrast with the medium. I drew the skull in marker before adding in the lipstick, then writing in it and scoring it with a plastic fork for added texture. The text refers to the scientific name of the Cape Buffalo, Syncerus caffer, and the history of the species in colonial South Africa.