A day of counting blessings – I have my health, a puppy and husband who love me, a significant pay rise, the sunshine and a beautiful apartment.
Coffee is percolating its way into my bloodstream while the moogie is playing the best kind of music there is: moody, intricately syncopated piano that slips between the ribs like a serrated knife. I’m back in the office after a day and a half working from home and, actually, it feels good to be here.
The living room of the Sett has become even more dramatic with the addition of a friend’s birthday gift: a huge Toby Burton original of our choice. The bathroom has been graced with a Badgergirl original (placement inspired by “and here’s where Queen Vicky hauled her ass off the can”, as I once heard an American tourist explain to her friend on seeing a handrail in the royal bathroom of Osbourne House) and TA is working on a triptych for the hallway.
My painting. Now there’s a thing. I love painting and TA is very supportive, but what I create is, well, at the very least, divisive. I am not a particularly adept manipulator of paint and distrust brushes – I’m still at the playschool stage of development. In our last unshared home I created a triptych of my own on the maiden, mother, crone theme. The mother was a resplendent Sheela Na Gig – wild haired, bare teethed, unapologetic. TA was disturbed; grinning down over the bed she rather put him off his stroke. I very much wanted him to create a cheeky Cernunnos to face her across the room, but sadly he never felt like rising to the bait. Later the maiden, mother and crone canvases were painted over and finally disposed of during one of our many moves. I don’t miss maiden or crone, but Sheela – with her raging strength, ability to shock and horrify, and unabashed blood lust – I miss.
I enjoy the sculptural possibilities of paint – recently I’ve added flour to make it more malleable. I like the idea of images built on the bones of others – the hidden archeology of the image (there was a painting of a gourd under the body of my Sheela, giving her an underpinning roundness and a secretly fertile body). I keep looking at the prints of my hands in the bathroom and thinking about trees and bones – the next incarnation. I’d like to make my own paint – the plasticity of acrylic feels slippery, gaudy and, well, synthetic. But boiled onion skins, hair, henna, coffee, tea, blackberries, woad, even – ah, now that’s exciting.
Did I ever write about the mask I made for a friend? A plaster and paper reflection of my face, decorated with paint and fur and a braid of my hair. Left to my own devices, I fear my home would fill with bleached bones. TA found the pupster trying to eat my journal – my blood has soaked through the paper. Sometimes blood says it all. There’s a reason why our living room was christened “the living womb” by a witty friend.
I am but imperfectly trained to wear shoes and walk prettily. Inside Sheela is shouting insults; can you hear the whispering echo?