Self-Portrait with Familiar
Self-Portrait with Familiar
Oil on Canvas
183 x 91 cm

At the time when I made this self-portrait I had been thinking that in painting we can have the potential to create images which manifest improbable or even impossible things, this can be an escapist projection, or a withdrawal from present realities. In self-portraiture specifically we can enact alternate characters and perhaps in visualising ourselves in a powerful guise confer some of that strength onto us.
I've always been keen on reading and watching material which offers feminist perspectives through themes associated with folklore, the magical, or the esoteric & decided to cast myself in a role suggestive of a witch-like figure, a book of spells and candle ready at my feet alongside my witches 'familiar'.
Of course that this is all a fabrication is made entirely clear, this is a constructed scenario, the creature isn't real, I don't own a book of spells and the candle isn't lit. Most suggestive of all is the image of a landscape, a tree which held a special memory, pinned to the back of a blank canvas behind me. I'm not really there, this whole scene is an unconvincing fantasy and I don't really hold magic abilities. But perhaps I'm proposing that by painting this I can heal some rift between these constrained circumstances and wild nature and claim a grain of an age old feminine power.