The paintings about my family’s chilly decades in Eastern Europe which you can see at House in the Forest are more or less representational, albeit in a semi-abstract way, and as such they marked a departure from the symbolic and abstract work I had been making. Although they have some bright colour, I am told they have a nostalgic atmosphere, and I agree, but at a conscious level I felt only pleasure and delight in painting them, because the theme of the little house is altogether so attractive to me. In fact, I have lately come to realise that ‘ the little house’ has cropped up in my work countless times over the years, starting with an image I remember drawing repeatedly as a child – a small house with a door, three windows, and a path leading down to a gate, surrounded by a garden wall. How secure, how happy, was the world depicted in that delightful domain!
Clearly, I am not alone in cherishing the archetype of the ‘little house’ , given that generations of little girls have played with their dolls’ houses – peaceful, quaint and orderly homes just like the traditional cottage so often given away as the ultimate prize in competitions in the Daily Mail ! In light of the many ‘little houses’ I notice in looking back over my own work, I must freely acknowledge the hausfrau within me, and my deep love of hearth, home and happy times with family, friends and, of course, good food. Not for me the sinister little house in the woods occupied by a wicked witch (aka independent woman living alone happily with her cat!). My ‘little houses’ may indeed originate in the world of myth and archetype, but to me they feel like safe and happy places and I’m sure I will continue to paint many more of them.