Saints Ethelburga and Eadburg are part of the ancient history of Lyminge. The recent rediscovery and reinstatement of St Eadburg in the history of this beautiful church, her connection with the source of the Nail Bourne, as well as hearing the stories, myths and historical misunderstandings about the power of women and their ability to heal and their strong connection with the sacred water and with nature, all inspired this work. The music I listened to while painting – The Protecting Veil – was composed by John Tavener, and is about the all-protecting love of the Virgin Mary, but could equally be about ‘Everywoman’ from the Past or in the Present, charged with the care of each of us and our precious earthly home.
Making this painting was a very strange experience. I knew immediately after my first visit to Lyminge what I was going to do, went straight home to my studio and made a drawing which is almost exactly the same composition as the final painting. As I don’t usually work figuratively, it was a surprise that this piece emerged so definitely as an abstracted figurative painting.
The two saints are a 'presence' rather than fully rounded real figures. The painting shows them to be more spiritual than physical and more about 'faith' than reality.
The painting is for each viewer individually to contemplate and interpret, and its meaning could change every time you see it. It is timeless. It is both local and universal, intimate and vast, and while it depicts great damage to our world, it also shows the possibility of healing.
At the centre, the two saints suggest we all hold the future of our beautiful but damaged planet in our hands.