A Crowded Life (self portrait of the artist)

'A Crowded Life' (self portrait of the artist)


Painted in acrylics and using only four colours, Carbon Black,  Titanium White, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue this painting tries to portray the complexity social roles which need to be juggled in order for women artists to follow their calling.


Most women find themselves pulled in all directions by traditional socialisation as a mother and home-maker, by social responsibility, by conflicting cultural interests and by the requirements of providing a healthy lifestyle. 


Here we see the artist in the centre of the canvas trying to paint.  She is surrounded by her other selves who all jostle to take the prime location, the focus of time and attention.  On one side is invidious temptation, goading her to come and play. Her guardian angle sits on her artist's palate and tries to drown Temptations calls.  Across the bottom a group of women cavort free of responsibility and clothing.



'The reality.  The year before this was painted I had entered a beautifully sensitive portrait into a well know female portrait painter's competition.  I was not impressed to discover that nearly half the finalists in the competition were self-portraits.  The rules clearly specified that the portrait has to be of a person of renown in three key aspects.  Painting a self portrait and painting someone else are totally different propositions, as the woman after whom the competition is named would have pointed out.  So, deciding if you can't beat 'em, join 'em; for the next competition I painted this self-portrait.  If you look closely there are 19 self-portraits.  And no, it didn’t get anywhere!!