‘It is not possible to be original except on a basis of tradition’ D.W.Winnicott
My paintings begin as a dialogue, both with a particular Folk Tale and also with an image from art history – often a painting by an Old Master that may then be used as a starting point from which to playfully but reverently deviate. Making paintings is the way I make sense of the narratives and stories that I encounter during my work as an Art Psychotherapist with teenagers, many of whom have tales of neglect and abuse. These stories have very little trouble attaching themselves to the narratives and imagery of Folk Tales and Faery Stories, since the themes of the two; loss and abandonment, the violence of parental figures, oral greed, transformation and renewal, naturally merge into each other, with the structure of the traditional story functioning as kind of frame or reference point. Within this framework, the starting image becomes a kind of armature, rather like an actor on stage upon which the narrative of the story is hung. I am interested in how stories are retold and re-imagined, and how the retelling alters and embellishes the original even as it seeks to render it vital and alive once again for a new audience.