My focus this time is on the creation of my Strength of Heart painting and the journey we’ve been on together.
After the preliminary sketch of the lion’s face, I very roughly layered colour to coat the canvas. My use of inks on the background were a riot of pink, red, blue and yellow ochre and my mind was awash with flames and the phoenix rising.
My breast cancer diagnosis was recent and although my whole world had been rocked; I had quickly decided to do everything I needed to, to ensure the best possible results going forwards. The flames were a nod to the finish line I knew I would cross.
I believed I could mostly carry on working through my treatment, as many women do. However, my overall experience with chemotherapy was one of pain and nerve damage. My fingers were either numb or unbelievably painful. And that was well before I got to the eye twitching stage.
Some days I could push through and paint regardless. On these days, I built up the background layers and started to add my dot technique with iridescent paint.
The painting was never wholly planned, the direction never actually decided; it just evolved on the days I could contribute to it.
In August, I changed the eyes from a lion’s typical amber to green; as my eyes are green. This lion symbolising the strength of spirit, was becoming my reminder and refusal to cave into my circumstances. The pinks an ode to the love I have for myself, the deep blue calming but also the power I held. After all, I chose to fight and embrace the process to give myself the best chance. It is the biggest act of self-love I have ever committed to.
Not only that though; I have been (and still am) keenly aware through this whole process of the millions of people that face a diagnosis of cancer each year. But still more; how many people endure circumstances that seem insurmountable at the beginning?
Yes, creating this painting has supported me through my journey. However, I think the lion and flames symbolise the remarkable indomitable spirit of every person that faces crisis and chooses to not let it define him/her.
I finally completed Strength of Heart in December 2021, nine months after starting it. This painting has taken longer than any other and I look at it now and feel enormous pride. I doubt there will ever be another painting I create that contains so very much of me. Despite the bold colours, there is a softness that is inherent and so much love has been invested.
I now happily share this love with you.
Love and light,