Rapunzel is the story of how the desire to possess and restrain can lead to disaster and ruin. Life has natural cycles and cannot be prevented from fulfilling its natural course which was why the witch (Mother Gothel) shut Rapunzel up in the tower at the age of 12. The witch has a definite male appearance and powerful red-gloved hands, fiercely determined to pull Rapunzel back in from her attempted escape.She is injured and has lost her little finger, the Mercury finger which is the symbol of communication and sex drive. Yet she is a powerful figure and her scream summons help which arises from within herself. She escapes her godmother witch and has her babies to the prince. He was blinded by thorns in his escape from the witch but on reuniting with Rapunzel his eyes are healed by her tears. They marry and are happy. The witch stays put in the tower. There are so many symbols in the story with the hair being, like the story of Samson, a symbol of power and connection. The greed of the mother for the salad green is represented by first the plant but then by Rapunzel herself. The witch cannot get enough of her and keeps others away. Possessiveness leads to rupture. This was the first of the paintings I did and is the ‘mother’ piece. My husband and I are the models.
About the Artist
I’ve come and gone from Australia many times, living and working in other countries as an IB teacher but always drawn and painted, exhibiting in Portugal, Spain and here of course. My travels have exposed me to many cultures, languages, stories and people who love to tell them in every possible way. I love to tell stories too and so I am a painter but the voice of the illustrator and cartoonist in me is never far away from making itself heard.
Mostly my work concerns itself with narratives, symbols and metaphors and my exploration of the power of the narrative as a published writer has led me to this theme of the Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales. I love the darkness and drama of the stories with their universal themes and magical possibilities. In them we see heroes, victims, violence, magic, the triumph of goodness over evil embodied in such stories as Hansel and Gretel, The Fisherman and his Wife, Cinderella and Snow White to name a few. I wanted to focus to some extent on the important details of a story. Puss with his buoyant independence striding across the field, Cinderella looking through the window into other people’s lives, Red Riding Hood bursting into an adult’s world and we don’t know what she saw. There is always the negative space, the unknown we fill in with our own context.
These works are done on a variety of grounds, mostly 640 gm Fabriano Artistico paper, linen, heavy Italian canvas, cradled birch panels using shellac based ink, acrylic ink, egg tempera, Sennelier oil paints, watercolours and pastel pencils. They are professionally framed by Henna St Framers and all use archival materials to preserve the works.
The inks and drawings demand different skills from the oils and so every work seems like wrestling an image from the surface of the terrifying depths of the blank canvas or paper. Like many artists, I’m rarely satisfied and often leave a piece to go back to it and fiddle with details, even erasing it and working over the top. It is very true for me that a painting isn’t finished, it’s abandoned!