Friday, February 14, 2014

First in Series

"The Mirror Image" by Hilary J. England
Oil on canvas 18" x 24" x 2", 2014
Here is the first painting in my series, "Transitions."   This painting is an extension of the "Rural American Youth" series in a way, in that many of the "players" in that series are continued into this series, but there are new focuses as well, and this series is rooted in change rather than in observations.

This painting, "The Mirror Image" revolves around Madeleine.  I saw the changes she went through after the sudden death of her young father, and how she struggled, and it sort of "diminished" her.  I could see her shrinking inside of herself, and suddenly, in a moment, she went from naive to wise, in the flash of that moment, it was visible.  I had never seen such a tangible moment in another human being, as if someone had literally lifted a veil from her eyes, and what she saw was horrifying.  It was lighting off a bomb, I saw the explosion, and then instantly felt the repercussions, and lastly, could plainly view the damage.

I watched as she struggled to process the enormity of everything, how a portion of her childhood was left in tatters, and the flashes of sadness and anger as she looked to blame but didn't know how, so ultimately, she began to blame herself, which seems to be weakness that comes so naturally to children, as they mostly lack the viciousness to blame others, or put the sadness where it belongs.

I painted her in her best dress, to show the feebleness of her situation, how brave she is, yet how little and lost.  I painted this in a dramatic light, to show how the situation was suddenly there, like spotlights in a prison break, yet she will come through it, eventually.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Digging Out

"Fresh grave in the pale winter sun" by Hilary J England
8" x 11" oil on canvas panel, 2014
Sometimes when I sit in my office, I get the maddening whiff of flowers, and it reminds me of a funeral home.  I don't know why, and it's all year long, and ONLY in this one particular room.  Strange.

The cemetery is not really a sad place though, and over the years, we unfortunately have had a pretty decent number of family and friends now become residents there.  We all die, but the sad thing is, for most of us, no one remembers beyond life.  Ever go sit in a cemetery?  Especially in Winter?  Not exactly a bustling place or beehive of activity.  I sat there for hours, and there was not one solitary visitor.  I walked the graveyard like a ghost, looking at the various headstones, both recent and old, and wondered how some of the younger people met their demise.  One particularly poignant plot of earth captivated my attention: a young woman of 18.  No marker.  Just a faded piece of paper, crumbled and ragged from the elements, waiving feebly in the wind, with just her name, date of birth, date of death.  I felt intense pity for her.  Was that all she was worth?

Winter is sometimes a hard season.  We get pent up and on each others nerves as the cold, bad weather, and illness keeps us indoors.  I don't know why I wound up at Skyview.  I had a coffee and was just happy to be out of the house, even though I am wracked with some kind of lung infection, I felt I needed the clean air.  And there was this place...

Old Stone cottage and wildflowers

 "Old stone cottage and wildflowers" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11" Lest you think I have moved to some r...