All of my life I have been an artist… I am one who engages seriously with
the world on many levels- sensory, sensuous, spiritual, physical and emotional.
When I paint, I feel alive. Engaged. Challenged. I take comfort in my ability to become engrossed in the world around me through the process of painting. For me, the process is challenging and engaging.
My work as an artist is strong, powerful, passionate, spontaneous, vibrant and daring. My commitment to my work requires me to be fearless, to have endurance, to be energetic and really “switched on”.
However, as a disabled artist, painting has always been a struggle for me. Painting (as opposed to any other kind of artistic activity) has always been hard for me because, while I love to paint, I find the traditional image of the disabled artist tyrannical –mouth and foot painted Christmas cards and “isn’t it marvelous what they can train them to do?”. I have always felt oppressed by these stereotypes.
And while this feeling of being oppressed is very real, I cannot dismiss my experience and say that being disabled makes no difference. It does. It affects every aspect of my painting - the speed at which I work (short bursts and very fast), the format (big), the choice of materials, (oils), where I go (always out) and how I get there, (usually on foot).
Notwithstanding this conundrum, at the end of the day, I value most highly my enthusiasm for getting out and doing it, in all weathers, despite the enormous difficulties I encounter. I also highly value the big toe on my left foot as a tool for painting. A close third comes my palette knife. Short, sharp and to the point. Like myself.