Monday, 1 February 2010

The Beauty of Ageing

I haven't blogged and I haven't managed to make art because I've been stripping wallpaper - yippee! (NOT). I wasn't even over my poorly spell when I was reminded that it was time to do the lounge - I feel like that should really be in capital letters. Anyway, it's that time of year to do everything that we've been putting off since November, saying "it's not worth starting that now, I'll do it after Christmas". Well, it's now well and truly after Christmas and time to bite the bullet...
We are the proud owners of an old Edwardian house that needs loads of work doing -AKA the Money Pit. I'm a stickler for original features and it's taking an age to reveal/reinstate them in our house. We've been here almost 5 years now and so I no longer have the excuse of "oh we've just moved in, yes we're going to .." you know how it goes. So having finished my eldest daughter's bedroom it's now the lounge's turn. I've stripped the walls of paper, and inevitably a large amount of plaster in the process:

And I've done the ceiling, which was a pig of a job to do. The ceiling is 9 1/2 ft high and I'm just over 5 ft, so me perched atop a stepladder for a whole week led to aching muscles and a stiff neck. I managed to get the paper off there without bringing down the ceiling, so I was very pleased. Now it's stripped, I'm a bit loathe to decorate, as I quite like the effect:
it looks kind of grand and tells a story. This, coupled with a post by Katherine Brown Interiors and Arts Consultancy convinced me to post on some work I did last year on the beauty of the ageing process. It sprang out of some work I was doing on weathering when I became obsessed with peeling paint and seeing what was underneath the layers and wondering how long it had been there:
these were a pair of oil paintings I did, reminiscent of old buildings exposed to the elements.
And this was a collagraph print on canvas, mounted on reclaimed, distressed timber:
In conjunction with doing up our house and my values around repairing, reusing and recycling rather than disposing of items, I realised more and more how our society is obsessed with youth, flawlessness, new and replacement materials, totally disregarding the old. Sadly, this also applies to people. With programmes like "10 Years Younger" and its' kind, we are being conditioned to be repulsed by natural signs of ageing which are indications of how we have lived our lives. I am now 45 and perhaps getting a bit sensitive about the whole ageing thing, but I decided to make a feature of it, rather than denying it. So I painted a self portrait of what I might look like in 40 year's time - exaggerating my existing lines and sags. From normal viewing distance it looks like this:

But where the lines are, I've scraped into the paint, my life experiences in writing - some of them sad and/or stressful, but mostly just ordinary, everyday experiences:

And the 'hair' is a poem that was found in an elderly lady's locker after she died in hospital. The staff thought her state of dementia meant she was oblivious to what was going on around her. A copy of it can be found here.
My rant is over, I say let's wear our wrinkles with pride!


maggie said...

Wrinkles or laughter lines ?..guess I must laugh an awful lot !Inspiring work Tammy.

Felted House said...

I've always thought 'What Do You See?' is a stunning piece, both close-up and from a distance too. What a moving poem. Not sure about wearing my wrinkles with pride yet, and I may dye my hair when it greys more, but I so agree about society valuing only the young, what a contrast to other cultures where sometimes the oldest are valued above all others for their experience and wisdom.

tammykingdon said...

Thanks for the kind words. Here's to laughter lines!

Twiglet said...

Great self portrait+ - thanks for kind words on my blog! I will be back to browse your work.

tammykingdon said...

Thanks Twiglet, hope you find something else that you like & good luck with your shop!