In fact the stories of Oscar Wilde are heavily influenced by Grimm’s tales and those of Hans Christian Anderson. They are complex, as this one is and will inspire my next collection of illustrations. They are full of beautiful images and messages. In all of Wilde’s stories, love is the predominant theme. In this story a fisherman falls in love with a mermaid and wants to marry her. The advice given by the priest is that he cannot as mermen have no souls. The story has a tragic end for the fisherman and the mermaid as although he has cut away his soul and sent it off, he cannot cut away his heart to give to the soul as he needs it to love.
My daughter Lizzie posed as the mermaid lying in the arms of her lover. In the background we see a refinery which has polluted the waters, a symbol of the industrial scale of bad living which is shutting off the connection with the metaphysical world. yet there are still the little white flowers of hope! This drawing won a Highly Commended Prize at the Ocean Grove Art Show.
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!