Painting through pain and trauma to freedom and joy…
Painted on linen and worked in oils. They are painted from the depths of my emotions. Each painting reflects a moment through this difficult year.
At the start of 2022 I was diagnosed with a very aggressive and invasive cancer. The turmoil this put us through was brutal. I had lost a sister from the same thing a few years ago, so death was very much on my mind. And while Doctors considered my options they would repeatedly say, ‘This is your best chance of survival’.
My thoughts grew dark.
I lay my troubled heart before you
Fear comes at me like a cancerous worm, eating away at my flesh, nibbling away at my peace
I am laid
It seems I have built my own fortress
Elegance and beauty – a well kept body
a good thick head of hair
and two fine breasts
Strip me of all that is mine
Look into my heart Lord and refine my thoughts
I cannot hide before you – I would not hide
I am beautifully and wonderfully made
If my body is stripped away, my spirit and my soul remain whole in you
Nothing is marred in your eyes
I am beautiful
So… I place my troubled heart in your amazing hands of love, hands that formed me and created me just as you intended
Let my fortress be you
Whilst highly charged with the sense of being overwhelmed, I poured myself into the above painting. Then I put it aside.
As I worked through issues of life and death and how my faith in God stood up to things, I began to work with brighter warmer colours.
A journal entry…
I walk a well trodden path sadly but despite that – a lonely one. What I mean is that even though many walk this path it remains one’s own. Friends close in with love and support, for which I am thankful, but, with a heart laid bare before God I cannot hold anyone’s hands but His in this place.
When returning to the painting, I knew that it simply could not be changed. I was no longer in trauma and peace once more prevailed. So It is done and I love it. I love it for it’s raw urgency and honesty. Oil on linen 91cm x 71cm Unframed £2250
Even though I felt that life had literally been pulled from underneath me, I was determined to look up and see light and hope, and as a friend put it, ‘Walk on the water above the storm’. This was easier said than done, but my Heavenly Father sheltered me and became not only my wrap around defence, but also my strength. You will see here a beautiful soft pink light that invades the storm and calms it right down. Oil on linen 91cm x 71cm Unframed £2250
Moments of Calm
These are my watercolour studies worked from the beach or looking down from the key-side Port Erin.
As energy permitted, I would sit by the water’s edge and paint. These moments helped to calm my soul and soak my being with the presence of God.
Sometimes on the water front there is a delicacy of light and sea mist. I love this. There is also the gentle rhythm of the incoming tide. All these things I store in my memory bank and they then come out later in paint. For me this painting speaks of that delicate calm.
Oil on linen Unframed 96cm x 56cm £2100
‘As the weeks pass my body fades and my mind struggles to keep up the good and the positive. I remind myself that I am ‘being made new’. Those were the words God spoke to me. I am being re-formed into a thing of strength and beauty. That is the defining truth. I hide under his wing, safe in his wrap around defence. Safe knowing. Safe being, and being known. Jesus, I love You.’ Petrina
An expression of the delicacy of light upon the waters. Picking up on those delicate layers of incoming mist which to me signified the gentle but yet powerful presence of God’s healing love. Oil on canvas Framed 96cm x 56cm £2250
Bound in a tight embrace, held captive in a season of stillness I quieten my heart before You – You are changing me. I dare not rush, or run before You. In stillness I wait, as You realign me for purpose. Joy and delight lay before me as I feast upon Your table. You are my delight – You are my focus – You are my deepest joy. 2022
My heart, oh Lord, is quiet and confident because of you Now, even in my weakness I can sing my Song of passionate praises Wake my soul to this new day of being held Let me simply rest in the presence of my loving God; I have put myself into your hands Be my strength Be my light Be my hope. I have very little strength of my own just now In my weakness – be my song In my weakness – be my strength 2022
‘Hope and a Future’ and ‘Reflected Glory’ were both painted in the middle of Chemotherapy and with a sheer determination to remain positive, I worked with colours of a rich vibrancy.
One day, and with chest pains, I applied a red glaze, but then as my situation grew worse I had to call the paramedics. They had me wired up so I mouthed to my husband to remove the painting from the floor so that the men had room to work…. Then the paint started to drip! I was in no position to do anything so had to let it be.
In my weakness – I stand on the truth. In my weakness – I put one foot in front of the other. In my weakness – I believe that Jesus is in me and there is no place for doubt; there is no place for fear. In my weakness – I believe. In my weakness – I rely on God’s strength. In my weakness – I am strong 2022
Later, when I was discharged from hospital, I was able to mop up a few drips, but the red had mostly dried and remained in its fluidity. What to do? I sat with it for a few weeks but decided that it was done. I loved those expressive marks and somehow they captured the moment; the story remains within this work and I love it for that.
Reflected Glory – Oil on linen 91cm x 71cm Framed £2250
‘A Hope and a Future’ – Oil on linen 117cm x 66cm Unframed £2250
This is my latest painting which started as an abstract blue and then developed as I poured my emotions into it. Each painting reflects what I am seeing, feeling and thinking as I work through them, and this one came at the end of a very long the year of difficult challenges. Whenever I had the strength, I would sit calmly on the beach and paint the water or journal in my sketch book. In a way this is a culmination of those moments. Oil on linen Unframed 66cm x 117cm 4cm deep £2500