Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Life Tree

We were delighted to be given this painting by Bjorg Tveten Stjernstad from my mum and dad as a moving in present.  I love the subject and what it represents, but also how it interlinks with my memories and past. It was painted in 1987, the year that I moved into another house with my family in a parallel road to where we now live. That house was called Minwood, (My wood) It was also they year I met Giles. We now live in Charleswood. (No we are not going to change it to Gileswood- although the kids already call it that) Looking at the the picture, the tree looks like a wood. It is hard to see but there are also many characters and figures that float in and out of the branches that are grouped in couples illustrating relationships in different stages of their lives.  A mother and father / Mother son, Grandmother young child, Lovers etc. It reminds me of Chagall's style with the birds and floating figures. There are also clusters of houses with a church, a bed, a chair, a stool and a lamp that form within the leaves. 6 White doves and 6 dark ones complete the cycle of life. The picture has been painted on to silk and the outline of the details are sewn in gold thread. 

Then there are my memories of studying the picture, looking at the details. It first belonged to my uncle and it hung on his wall in Oslo. It reminds me of times of coming in from the ice cold into the warmth.  Of heavy snow hanging over his grass roof and cross country skiing. Then afterwards enjoying hot chocolate and making boller (buns) and heart shaped waffles, roaring fires and candle light. For a while my Grandparents lived in Spain during the summer months, by now my uncle had moved to Thailand, so the picture went to Spain. My memories of the picture are now of warmth and the sea shared with memories of my family visiting my Grandparents. 24 Years on it's with us in the UK, I'm now the parent and thoughts and ideas about the picture are shared with my own children.

Bjorg Tveten Stjernstad exhibiting her paintings.

I also think that this picture / the subject will feature within Mimi's story of Itchycoo. It is inspiring me to pick up the story from where I left it and get back on it - which is good because It's been left alone for a year. I think it's needed some breathing space, to have a break as now I can look at past thoughts or ideas from a fresh perspective . It makes it easier to change direction and frees it up to follow a new path. So I have lined up my next three canvases and have scribble sketched two. When will I get the paints out? Who knows- after Christmas? That is probably more realistic, I would love to have them finished by then. Dream on. I have also started a new blog that will become Mimi's Diary in Itchycoo. It will be where the paintings come to life and a place to get to know Mimi and the characters she meets. I will start to publish posts just before Christmas, so that it the diary although make believe will be real time.  So watch this space...

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