I made this painting a long time ago, from a quick outline doodle I’d drawn of someone I saw in the street. I used to display it at the Kew Studio, in the staircase gallery, where the staff at the nursery on the ground floor would turn it round to face the wall.
Presumably they thought it was too much for the small children to bear seeing, but I was quite surprised by their reaction. Obviously it was really the women themselves who were upset: I can’t see how a two- or three-year-old would even notice it or be in the least bit offended or traumatised by this very plain silhouetted figure.
This painting was also listed on ebay as part of my studio clear-out earlier this year, but it was one of the few that wouldn’t sell, despite being listed repeatedly. So there she sat in the ‘what to do with these’ box for another few months.
At that stage she didn’t have a halo or any words, but after becoming pregnant for the first time this year I have become more interested in art relating to pregnancy and birth. This has led to an exploration of various ancient and modern iconic images and figures of pregnant and birthing women, and this painting seemed to me to be part of this tradition. I felt as though I had already seen the birth goddess without realising it, so I wanted to bring her into my icon collection.
The addition of Rhine Gold dust from the Greenshop, applied to a coating of size, has turned her into the goddess she clearly always was.