In February 2008 I exhibited ten of my paintings with Abílio Febra. The exhibition was called Andamentos Musicais or Musical Walks. Link to gallery.
Here is the introductory text in the catalogue:
1986 with Tilly 2008 with Toffee
“From 1983 – 1986 I studied at the then Trent Polytechnic Nottingham, on a combined art and drama degree. After arriving in Portugal in 1987 I did nothing serious with my art till 2007 when, together with Abílio Febra I set up Esper’art, a group of avid drawers who meet every week in the old theatre to share a life model and do an hour or so of sketching.
The first thing I did on my return to art was to revisit favourite artists, pulling their books off my shelves and reliving the images that had provoked enthusiasm in me all those years ago. In particular Marc Chagall, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Craigie Aitchinson and Raul Duffy. On opening Duffy’s book I found a note written by my art teacher from school, and felt a surge of love and affection for a woman who believed I would go on to be a great artist! In the front cover of the book she’d written:
Vive la decoration!
Vive la tradition!
Vive la couleur!
Vive la joie de vivre!
Ceste tout que nous possedons!
Lots of love MS May 1984
Back at college my work revolved around my life, personal possessions, my emotions… around me! My paintings have always been personal stories, recounting incidents, real life or in dreams, using images and objects which mold my visual surroundings. Colours represent both reality and emotion, and all together often appear a little muddled and disjointed, though in my mind they are coherent. It has been difficult to return to the very egocentric me, and select from a busy adult life what I want to include in my paintings, and the journey of rediscovery has been an emotional one.
Happily, each of the paintings you see here continues to tell a story, and those that know me will recognize household objects and decorations, my husband, my dogs and my cat. There are innumerous references to the countryside around my home, in Rio Seco, where I now live – a view of the chapel at Amoreira, the vines and the trees, the abandoned land, the birds and plant life I have come to think of as my own – all on the east facing slopes that I see daily whilst I walk my dogs. There are also references to the past. My adoration of the blue Portuguese sky that is so much brighter than my own English one; my love of bright oranges set in dark green leaves. Castles already appeared in my work as a student and the castle reappears here, representative of that time I lived in Leiria, though it could be any castle anywhere! Even the Burda patterns come from memories of the shirts and trousers I made when I first arrived in Portugal – they look good as landscapes! It is presumptuous of me to think that this collection of personal imagery will be of interest to the general public, but this is how I paint. After 21 years of nothing I have rediscovered that I still want to tell my personal stories, and I am very happy to have opened another chapter in my life as an artist.
I hope that those of you who find the time to look will find the images pleasing, whether you know me or not.