The idea behind ‘Mother Oxfordshire’ came from my need to express the way I feel about all the wonderful things in my county.
The ancient inhabitants of Oxfordshire and many other parts of the world have a notion of ‘mother earth’. In places, the profile of the landscape on the horizon actually resembles a sleeping or recumbent woman,. In many such places in the UK, like the Sleeping Beauty on the Isle of Lewis, our ancestors built temples, stone circles and laid their dead to rest within sight of such recumbent ‘earth goddess’ figures. In my painting, I have tried to make reference to this. As well as this pregnant figure you’ll see:
-a variety of birds
-the Rollright stones
-the River Thames
-the Uffington White Horse
-and woodlands, fish, butterflies and animals…
I liked the idea of joyful, dancing women for no other reason than to express life force and creativity, movement and shape and the need to use pink to offset all that green. I originally intended to put in one animal, one bird, one insect, one fish, etc, but as the compostion developed more and more little birds began to appear. I hadn’t intended to put so many in but it became clear the painting was asking for more, so I had to oblige. Can you spot a green woodpecker, blue tit, goldfinch, chaffinch, kingfisher and a jay?
I began to play on the word ‘bird’ in my mind, both ornithologically and as slang for ‘woman’.