2 SAINTS COMMISSION 2020
I was delighted to be invited to work on a commission to celebrate the archaeological dig at the 7th Century Lyminge Church.
The 19th Century Canon Jenkins was rather creative in writing the history of this beautiful church and its saints, so it has been a great adventure to be included in the search for truth.
"We know that Jenkins distorted his records to make the walls fit a neatly symmetrical plan. Further investigation has also revealed that he did not draw what he actually found,
so we are in a sense literally re-writing history.
Don’t always believe what Antiquarians of the past had to say, however confidently they may have said it. Even clergymen were clearly not above twisting the truth to fit their views."
Saints Ethelburga and Eadburg are part of Lyminge’s ancient history. Rediscovering St Eadburg and her connection with the source of the Nailborne hearing the myths, historical misunderstandings about womens power and healing in the past, and connection with sacred water and nature inspired the theme of this work. The painting is open to be read as ‘the protecting women’, all encompassing figures who could be from prehistory or as womankind and mankind in the present charged with the care of each other and our precious habitat.
The whole process of making this painting was a very strange experience - I knew immediately after my visit to the archaeological site what I was going to do, went straight home to my studio and made a drawing which is almost exactly the same composition as the final painting. As I don’t usually work figuratively, it was a surprise that this piece emerged so definitely as an abstracted figurative painting.
The two saints are a 'presence' rather than fully rounded real figures, the painting shows them to be more spiritual than physical and more about 'faith' than reality.
The painting is for each viewer to contemplate and interpret and it could change every time you see it. The painting is timeless. It is both local and universal, intimate and vast and it depicts great damage and the possibility of healing.
At the centre, the two saints suggest we all hold the future of our beautiful damaged planet in our hands.
30cm x 30cm
Oils, acrylic and gold leaf