Wednesday 10 February 2021

Sea of Roses

When I first moved to Ireland in the late 1980s, I lived with my parents in their house in the centre of Bray. My room for two years was the middle upstairs room and, unbelievably when I think of it now, it was also my studio. All of the work created for my first solo show in 1989 was drawn and/or painted on the floor between my bed and the fireplace! Sometimes, for very large pieces, I was allowed to take over the house's front room and work on the floor there. In 1989, after my exhibition, I wanted to work very large on an idea inspired by a dream. Sea of Roses, approx 140 cm square, oilstick, 1989.

Even after I left my parents house this large work remained affixed to the wall of the middle room. This room later became my Mum's bedroom after my Dad died and an elder sister with her family moved in. After my Mum's death in 2016 the piece made its way back to me and has been rolled up, taking up space in my studio ever since. At this point the oilstick has permeated the paper (good Canson stock!) making it brittle. It was always destined for purgation, I just had to figure out when and how. In my January clean-up of the studio, my husband set it up to photograph as its time for destruction neared.

There were some scratches through the oilstick medium in different places but otherwise the drawing has held up pretty well over the years.

It was difficult to get the colour nuances, in the roses especially, to show up in the photos.

A picture of the reverse of the drawing, where I signed, dated and titled the piece, shows how the oil has permeated the paper.

I used a ruler to tear up the piece, which took about an hour! I couldn't resist saving about nine of the roses, in their surroundings, as individual keepsakes but otherwise Sea of Roses is now a memory.

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