Monday, 10 March 2014

Julie Swindel ♥

Julie Swindel is a mother of eight, yes you read that right EIGHT! When I started exchanging messages with Julie and found out, I thought that perhaps I had found the ultimate Desperate Artwife...

Julie tells me how she tries and keep her eye focused on art during her hectic lifestyle. Having attempted a few art courses she has never managed to finish them and therefore she considers herself largely self-taught. At forty she was able to have her own home studio (protected by a stair-gate!), allowing her to come and go from her work as and when. Julie says "I had my first daughter at 25, before that I had time and I wasted it, I had no perception of how precious life was. If you are desperate enough you learn to be flexible and adaptable. Every experience can be channelled into expression, frustration can become passion seen in a flurry of marks on the canvas or clay at the end of the day when the children are asleep. During day to day tasks a partition of my mind is always open to creativity. If circumstances are limiting I study the ordinary. Necessity has been the mother of my invention."

Julie's painting style takes me back in time to when I was studying art in Italy and experimenting with various subjects for my paintings. Her way of combining different situations in one painting makes the image become a narrative - almost like stills from a motion picture. Some of her work combines dream-like situations and reality, some others i
n - true Desperate Artwife style - relates to the everyday and private life. Death, memories, resignation, daydream, childhood... 

Her father's death motivated her to pick up the paint brush again, eager to try and hold his memory before it melted away from her.  Through this  experience, she discovered that art can be used as a form of therapy. Sometimes I think that artists are privileged because if it's hard to verbally express their thoughts and feelings then they are able to use their art instead. It is challenging but it helps in giving you a voice without you having to talk.

In "Fabrication", one can see a woman folding clothes from a washing basket while underneath a man is busy polishing and lining up shoes. Everyday home chores are surrounded by a background of a coastline and a cloudy sky. A flock of white doves are flying around, perhaps symbolising love and peace. Julie explains that this work is about how daydreaming  can help in life but how we also need to embrace the present moment. 

The other mother
I read  "The other mother" as another attempt of healing the soul. Julie painted this in reaction to having to accept the medical profession into her family after the birth of her disabled daughter. A narrow corridor,  green walls,  a blurred vision of a faceless doctor and nurse wearing white scrubs and walking towards you. They are surrounded by big red crosses that seem to shoot out of the painting. The painting is coming outwards, it's unstable and full of tension. Art is a tool that Julie constantly tries to exploit in order to better endure her life. 

Mausoleum of motherhood
"Mausoleum of motherhood"  was painted as a way to stop the swirling storm of images and emotions that were gathering as Julie dealt with the realities of motherhood against what one might think it ought to be (or how the media portrays it to be). 

Julie condenses her life experiences into her work and like a good book, it unfolds stories we all can connect to. And like a good book it remains with you long after you've finished looking at it. 

Amy Dignam 2014 ©

1 comment:

  1. I am very proud to have been featured on one of my favourite art blogs: Desperate Artwife. It is an inspiration to read about all of these women who create in conjunction with the balancing act of being a mother. The artist part of me is like having an extra and very demanding child. Thank you Amy for including me, this acknowledgement has strengthened my resolve to keep on painting xx