Never in my life have I been so grateful for books. They fed my imagination when access to my staple inspirational nourishment – museums, people, galleries, life-drawing – was locked-down. Embraced within their pages I’ve travelled the world enjoying fictious and vicarious adventures on the way.
This painting THE MIRACLE OF IMAGINATION arose from a desire to honour the power of literature and capture in oil-paint the intensely intimate, personal and exciting experience of reading. The dominance of her wild flame-red hair – purposefully continuing beyond the canvas – framing and highlighting her face, is as untamed and electrifying as her neurological pathways. The viewer is drawn to the dark blueygreen book with its glowing pages. There is a sense of the fleetingly insubstantial, it’s as if the whole painting could dissolve at any minute. Using energetic brush and palletknife marks on the figure and background unify the whole canvas creating an illusory impression; the viewer is actually seeing the ephemeral miracle of the imagination. The figure has been interrupted, not only from her book but shaken out of her fantasy. The solidity of her composure grounds the turbulence of the mark making; fusing poise (the quietness of the reading process) and the primitive dynamic unknowable imaginative world of the mind. I wanted to capture that millisecond when, disturbed by the viewer, she grapples to refocus on a different reality.