Author: Zoe Cameron

Courage.

Next week an exhibition celebrating the life of Muriel Gardener opens in London at the Freud Museum. It seems she came from an affluent American family and was a woman of enormous courage and compassion, taking great risks to save lives while in Austria in the 1920’s. There, she fought fascism aiding the Resistance movement living a double life, smuggling fake passports into Austria to help resistance fighters flee the country. Her quest for fairness and equality continued until her death.

Then on the news this week we learnt more about the young Journalist Lyra Mckee , two men are charged with her murder.

These two women are a reminder for me, of all of those people with courage, working underground or as journalists, film makers or reporters , that risk their lives to help others and to inform us. With an integrity that comes from being there, seeing with their own eyes, they shine a light into the darkest corners, giving so much of themselves to make the world a better and fairer place for everyone.

In 2019, I made this small Ex Votive painting (part of 100 Painted Vows). Lyra and so many others, represent the best of the human race in the worst of times.

18th April 2019. Londonderry Ireland . Journalist Laya Mckee is shot and killed by the New IRA during riots. Oil on board.

Lyra McKee’s Blog –

https://muckrakerdotme.wordpress.com

Information on the life of Muriel Gardener –

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-58399839

Code Name Mary: The life of Muriel Gardiner runs at the Freud Museum London from 18 September to next year ,23 January

Afghanistan.

It is impossible not to feel great sadness and compassion for all those involved and living in Afghanistan at the moment, as we witness their escalated fear and suffering.

A painting. A woman by a bridge is distraught , her 2 daughters disappear into the sky taken from her by Isis.
A woman has two small daughters taken by Isis. She goes mad shouting the world must help us or they will never be seen again. She lives under a bridge. 23rd September 2014. Oil on board. Ex Votive.
Ex Votive Painting. Title. 2014, September 23rd. A pregnant woman escapes an Isis camp near Mosul where kidnapped women and girls are held for conversion , sold as slaves and for sex. 3 women await their fate in distress, 2 hooded men hold weapons.
Wednesday 23rd Sept 2014. A pregnant woman escapes camp in Mosul, held with other women to convert to Islam by Isis . She walked for 3 days to escape. 3,500 women and girls as young as 9 are kidnapped and sold for slaves and for sex. We give thanks for the pregnant woman who escaped and remember and pray for the women there. Oil on board. 100 painted Vows. Ex Votive.

When I listen to the news each day, I think of the Afghan people, so afraid for their lives and future’s, especially the women. Of those who went there to help the people and animals . Our soldiers, some who remain, what must they have seen and been through. What of of those who sacrificed their lives serving over there or were hurt , and their dignified and devastated families left to pick up the pieces, whatever must they be thinking and feeling as troops leave. I can’t begin to imagine .

An Ex Votive , Prayer Painting showing Conrad Lewis his dog and Troops in Afghanistan. Title - October 26th 2014. Afghanistan . After 13 yrs UK troops leave Camp Bastian. Conrad Lewis was killed by a sniper, one of 453 British Troops that died. Peg his adopted stray, is sent to live with his grieving family. Prex Precis. EV.
October 26th 2014 . Afghanistan . After 13yrs Uk Troops leave Camp Bastian . Conrad Lewis was killed by a sniper , one of 453 British Troops that died . Peg, his adopted stray, is sent to live with his grieving family . EV .

Words, paintings or gestures, nothing is enough. As we witness these historic events in the twenty-first century, nothing seems to alter their fateful path. These small votive or prayer paintings made some years ago, keep calling out to me from the corner of the studio. A reminder that so little has changed and illustrate mans continued inhumanity to man through the atrocities of war, while the fires stoked by tyrants rage on.

A tonally dark painting of a child lighting a church candle, behind her is a painted figure.
Remember you are loved . Oil on board . 2008 .

Milan-Kundera. Portrait taken in Paris in 1981. Czech born writer who has lived in France since 1975.

“for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.” 

Milan Kundera, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of being’

Kundera’s novels are intense , and realms of moral judgment are suspended . As a young man in communist Czechoslovakia, he turned to the novel. Kundera recalls: The only thing I deeply, avidly, wanted was a lucid, unillusioned eye. I finally found it in the art of the novel. This is why for me being a novelist was more than just working in one “literary genre” rather than another; it was an outlook, a wisdom, a position . . . a considered, stubborn, furiousnonidentification.

It was as a young painter that I first discovered Kundera’s books, thinking at the time that his particular method of writing bore similarities to my partners working process, he was a painter. Revisiting one his books in my studio this week, it sparked my own thoughts about distortion in art and in life.

Kundera, in his collection of Essays entitled, Encounters, one of the cultural figures he considers is the Irish born figurative painter Francis Bacon, he asks the question, “Up to what degree of distortion does an individual still remain himself?” It’s a question that resonates throughout the book. To what degree can we be distorted by violence and fear … in short, by history … and still be ourselves? Kundera sees this distortion everywhere, a distortion that art and artists embrace and explore. 

Francis Bacon in his studio.
Francis Bacon,Three studies of George Dyer 1966.

He described Bacon’s portraits as “an interrogation on the limits of the self, and considers “the brutal gesture” , the “hand movement that roughs up another person’s face in hopes of finding, in it and behind it, something that is hidden there”, and I really do see and understand that driving force in Bacons work.

During our lives, most of us will consider to what degree of distortion does a beloved person still remain a beloved person? For how long does a cherished face growing remote through illness, through madness, through hatred, through death still remain recognizable? Where is the border beyond which a self ceases to be a self?”.

Three studies for a crucifixion,1944. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Critics tell us that Kundera’s subjects are mirrors, offering variously distorted reflections on his own work and situation, perhaps so. He did say, with reference to a remark by Francis Bacon about Beckett: “When one artist is talking about another, he is always talking (indirectly, in a roundabout way) of himself, and that is what’s valuable in his judgment,” so that does offer us some insight into himself and others .

Milan Kundera, Encounter

Milan Kundera and Francis Bacon, who transcend the mundane .

On Fathers Day –

For all good Dads and those who have stepped in , have a lovely day x.

A detail from a painting showing daffodils in a jug with village children by Zoe Cameron .This painting hangs in Vyvyan Coach House Mawgan Church Cornwall
Detail . Mawgan Daffodil Festival. Oil on board. Public site – Mawgan Church Coach House.
Vincent van Gogh, First Steps, (after Millet). 1890, oil on canvas.1890.

Same as it ever was.

While civilisations moral compass lays trampled underfoot by so many in the world…. as reported 24/7 in the media. I hope that you can find peace of mind and good health on this wet and windy Sunday. So I thought I’d share with you this gentle painting of my cat and garden fruits painted in 2010, and show you the boxes of new paints that have just arrived in my studio and that will keep me busy. I hope that these colourful jewels … or these tubes of old holland oil paint, will aid my studio alchemy, we shall see x.

September fruits . Oil on card . 2010
New paints just delivered! ( behind them a lid from a recently painted box, the subject matter inspired by a rather sad story about endangered Tortoises) . Incidentally , Old Holland paints have very dense pigment unlike some other brands which can have excess oil .

Notre Dame 2019.

Ex Votive painting. Title – 15th April 2019. Paris, France. Notre Dame Cathedral is badly damaged by a fire.

On April 15th 2019 the world watched in disbelief as the ancient Cathedral of Notre Dame burnt  before our eyes. This precious architectural Icon and Gothic landmark , built from oak and love was lost, along with much of its contents . 

Like so many others I was in awe of its beauty, scale, and the skill of the craftsmen who created that link between earth and heaven . 

This small Ex Votive painting marked that time . Today, two years on the restoration and funding to rebuild continues.

https://www.restoringnotredame.com

The wreck of the Alba.

I awoke this morning and listened to the news on the radio about Scottish politics. I wondered why the name Alba was so familiar to me. Then I remembered Alfred Wallis’s painting. For some years, like a number of other local artists, I worked freelance at The Tate St Ives to lead workshops and tours, to offer an artists insight into their changing exhibitions.

This is the work of Alfred Wallis, a fascinating painter, self taught and sadly much faked. But his influence on the Post war artists from London, like Ben Nicholson , Hepworth and Christopher Wood is well known. His knowledge of the tides and sea evident in his paintings of ships and boats in a variety of situations and places. He was a mariner who had a variety of occupations, including scrap. In his painting below which belongs to the Tate he has recorded the terrible event of the wrecking of the Panamanian Steamer, the Alba , off Porthmeor beach in the winter of 1938.

The wreck of the Alba . Oil on wood . By Alfred Wallis . The Tate Gallery

Fellow painter , specialist in Wallis’s work and gent Rob Jones has written a great book about the man, to find out more : https://www.robertjonesartist.com/alfred-wallis-artist-mariner/

I watch with interest the ongoing Scottish political wrangles and wonder if ‘Alba’ will safely navigate their stormy seas .

Mental health & living on the streets .

Votive painting . December 2018 . Homeless . David said ‘I just want to go to heaven’.

Mental health is important for all sentient beings, and I include animals here. Our life experiences and our response to the difficulties along the way will be different for each of us, as will the quality of help and support.

What do I see when I pass a homeless person in a doorway …. a victim or someone accountable for their own situation and perhaps self destructive actions ? ‘There but for the grace of god go I’ my grandmother would have said to me as a child, she always gave half a crown to the tramp that lived in the woods on the way to my primary school . However she was also a shrewd judge of character, and could spot a user or ‘ner do well’ a mile off, to them she gave neither her time nor energy.

In 2018 the ‘beast from the east’ visited our shores, rough sleepers were helped and some interviewed , one particular comment made by a chap called Dave stuck in my mind, he said ‘I just want to go to heaven’ . In response I made this votive painting, and with sadness I contemplated his words, and his wish to escape this world to find a better place. (David is the figure in the hat in the painting above.)

To support St Petroc’s: https://www.stpetrocs.org.uk

Humanitarian Crisis Warning for Yemen.

Ex Votive. Painting Title - June 2016. Yemen/Taiz Zoo. Civilians and animals suffer and die trapped in the war. Oil on board. Children on the left hand side of the painting struggle to survive in the bombed city.Above them a war plane has hit a target , a building explodes. The the right contained in 2 small rectangles, two once magnificent lions starve and suffer.
Title – June 2016. Yemen/Taiz Zoo. Civilians and animals suffer and die trapped in the war. Oil on board.

Yemen’s ongoing crises continues. Today on the radio, I listened to an article centred around education and the conditions endured by teachers and children in this war torn country . It seems that some teachers haven’t been paid for a year, schools continue to operate amongst the rubble and bomb damage of buildings, they have no chairs, doors, lights or enough food. Children say they have become used to the sound of gun fire and the need everyday to confront the possibility of dying. Still, schools continue to teach and their children remain eager to learn.

Today the UN warn of yet another threat to Yemen , famine, if as expected the Uk go ahead and cut Aid by perhaps as much as 50% . I can’t offer an explanation of the why’s and wherefores of the military campaign lead by by the Saudi Arabian coalition, I leave that to those more informed, but like you, I do witness the impact on civilians. The world is struggling on so many levels environmentally and practically, here with the fallout of the pandemic and in war torn countries where life is literally a fight to stay alive every day.

So, as an artist, it is towards our elected politicians , heads of state , weapon makers and international negotiators I turn my gaze, when I hear the UN make such grave predictions . However , the date of this paintings is a sad reminder to me, for things to get better, there has to be a will for change, and the Yemeni civilians in 2021 , they still wait.

The painting is a Votive offering, made in 2016. Title – One Hundred Painted Vows.

Happy children playing
Happy children playing

Who tilts the scales?

sacred-visions-stories/

In the studio.

The studio and painted chair .

At the end of last year I asked a friend who is a carpenter to make me a wooden chair. I had an idea of design I wanted, as I had seen a beautiful old lambing chair that was made from recycled timber, unified with a coat of paint.

I drew out the chair in pencil on a piece of A4 and with a tape measure I worked out the proportions . As my friend went out the studio door with the design in his pocket he said, “don’t worry I will make it, but I wont fix it , then you can make any changes you don’t like , and I agreed.

Some weeks later a message came to pop in and see the chair, and I nipped over. I had really been looking forward to seeing my drawing transformed into 3D, and finally there it was.

Looking at it from all angles the shape was just as I had hoped . We discussed the parts we liked and those we didn’t, he didn’t like the arms which we changed , and I wanted a drawer under the seat, and so gradually the chair took shape . The heavy recycled oak and pine chair finally arrived complete in my studio just before Christmas .

I had the in the back of my mind that this might be a ‘thinking chair’ , a space in which one feels safe and relaxed. The kind of chair that is rarely empty in any pub or meeting place and that has a good view out of a window. In the meantime, I put it in the corner of the studio to get used to its shape, and to consider how best to paint it…..

It was in the new year that ideas of colours and imagery began to emerge, and I started work. This method of working was all about putting paint on and taking it off or painting over the next day. But, this process did build up rich multiple layers and developed transitory imagery, which I thought could fit the chairs space and form more naturally than applying anything predetermined .

And so here are a few pictures of it in progress and situ. The drawer is a proving to be a useful space, the question is, what should I keep in there… drawing books, gin and tonic or a lamb …. as intended with the traditional chair.

The painted ‘thinking chair’…. it’s decorated on all sides with different imagery and has an angel on top of the hood, designed to keep a person extra safe !

9/11

Today my thoughts are with the victims, families, friends and emergency services . Those robbed of their futures and all of those who’s lives are changed for ever, as the world was changed for ever.

A Painting of flowers on the window sill in a Cornish cottage.A Putti ornament sits against a blue jug.
Flowers, Bluebell Cottage, Cornwall. Oil on board.

T S Eliot. The Rock.

“The world turns and the world changes,

But one thing does not change.

In all of my years, one thing does not change,

However you disguise it,

this thing does not change:

The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”

New Project.

I have just taken delivery in the studio, of this recycled wooden chair . It is the second that I have had made from drawings, by a friend and carpenter, he can make and fix almost anything …. brilliant !

Ready for painting .

After some trial and error I decided on these base colours , which suite the theme I have in mind, but these colours may or may not remain dominant, that will depend on how it all develops and comes together over the coming weeks.

Colour samples .

So this will keep me busy for a while.

Right , music on ….. ideas flowing ….. paints lined up, a pile of brushes, empty pots, rags, some soapy water and we are off!

An artist who lifts the spirit .

There are artists who lift the spirit with their paintings, perhaps with their skill, portrayal of great beauty,  colour or narrative , top of that list for me with his figurative and very personal choice of subject matter is Ben Hartley 1933 – 1996 .

Kimono Cottage by Ben Hartley.
Aquaquack by Ben Hartley.

When Ben died, he bequeathed all of his work to Bernard Samuels who was then Director of Plymouth Arts Centre , and in response Bernard put on many exhibitions and made publications sharing these lovely works with us all. Pigs Must Eat on Sunday, by Green Books ltd , remains a much treasured gift on my bookshelves from a dear friend who many years ago introduced to his work . We both enjoyed Bens wonderful observation and the tender humour in his work .

Pigs Must eat on Sundays. Ben Hartley.
Chuck, Chuck by Ben Hartley.
Granny Gander by Ben Hartley


Bernard later discovered letters that Ben wrote to Susan his niece in Manchester during the 1960’s , which were compiled into a book of his drawings of rural life, entitled, Dear Susan by Ben Hartley.

I shall continue to enjoy his uplifting work, perfect any day, but especially on rainy or sad days x.

Link- (which doesn’t seem to be working just now , but it was the authentic site )http://www.ben-hartley.co.uk

Who pays the price ?

The Horse Fair. Oil on board.

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,

friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?

Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.

Lines from ‘The Horse’ by Ronald Duncan. © (Copyright of) the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation

I was reading an article the other day and thought , they are odd bedfellows, profit hungry firms and animal welfare practices. It seems that there has been a call for Equity Giants to be investigated as more than half of Uk Veterinary practices are now owned by six companies, creating a monopoly.

In advertising, subliminal methods are used all the time to encourage us to make purchases , we are encouraged …. subliminally to think we need some new cream or a particular car to live happy lives. So this works on that psychological spectrum , as pet owners know only too well , a sick animal is family , our defences come down when we go in search of urgent help. So does that make us animal lovers perfect prey for the profit hungry companies? It would appear so, if the newspaper reports are true.

There are stories of pet owners having problems with some private equity vets, being in some way held to ransom, by the prices of out of hours clinics in an emergency. I read that Tory peer Lord Blencathra has become involved and doesn’t want our pets health to be in the hands of venture capital firms and asks for an ‘immediate freeze’ on private companies buying UK veterinary practices, which sounds very sensible.

It seems Medivet, has more than 300 practices and is part-owned by Inflexion Private Equity, which has referred to its vets as ‘cash-generating units’. IVC Evidensia owns 993 vet practices out of around 6,000 in total. It’s owned by Swedish private equity group EQT, with food giant Nestle holding a minority stake. Where did James Herriot and his values and priorities go, all the while we remain in the dark about these mergers and the price links between what we had imagined were different vet practises. Worse, where does that leave the sick animals belonging those unable to meet the inflated costs?

Detail from a larger painting of a cat laying on a carpet.
Detail – The old Worrior. 2018.

In the meantime , I realise that the majority of vets and their teams have only animal welfare at the forefront of their actions, if they answer the equity companies or not. However , If this take over bothers you, as it does me , you might like to check out your own vets status .

painting of a sleeping pig a boy and some moor hens which has been made into a Christmas card
Show respect & consideration for all living things.

Dogs x

A dogs loyalty is well recognised the world over , their forgiveness and love is so bountiful, even from those that have short and pitiful lives . In my experience having a dog as part of the family is brilliant, sometimes messy , occasionally worrying but mostly good fun and a laugh. The worst and hardest bit, is when you have to say goodbye, they leave a massive dog shaped hole in your heart. In this post I want to honour all dogs with a few of my paintings and some wonderful vintage photos,( unfortunately I am not sure who took those), they all record some very special relationships x .

Red Dog . 1985 . Oil on paper .
The little Nurse . 2003 . Oil on board . 41x43cm
Prayer Painting – October 26th 2014. Afghanistan . After 13 yrs UK troops leave Camp Bastian. Conrad Lewis was killed by a sniper, one of 453 British Troops that died. Peg his adopted stray, is sent to live with his grieving family. Prex Precis. EV.
Dancing with the dog,(Jubilee) . 2012 . Oil on board.
1962: Charles Tumbridge riding his scooter through the streets of Kensal Rise, London, with his pet dog Susie in his mobile kennel.
Wounded soldier waiting on the Allied beachhead in France for transportation to a hospital in England with a stray dog, 1944
Painting of the artists dog asleep in a chair, at Porthleven Net Loft, Cornwall.
Ruby Sleeping . Oil on paper . 1987 (The old net loft, Porthleven).
Studies,Ruby Sleeping . Pencil on paper .
Sad boy . Oil on board . 2002 .
Prayer painting – 5th May 2016 . Taoyuan, Taiwan . Gentle vet , Chien Chih – Cheng had to euthanise hundreds of stray dogs . Persecuted by Media and Cyber Bullies , she killed herself. Her note said , ” Please value life”.
Prayer painting – December 2018 . Cornwall . The homeless struggle to survive the freezing temperatures . Dave said ,” I just want to go to heaven “.

To support St Petroc’s: https://www.stpetrocs.org.uk

painting of Jacobs dream at Bethel Jacob sleeps and dreams of the scene behind of angels ascending to heaven and descending to earth - detail from an oil painting in All Saints Church Marazion Cornwall
Jacobs Ladder . Oil on board . All Saints Church, Marazion, Cornwall.
1954: A cyclist in Holland transports her pet dog in one of the panniers on the back of her bicycle.
Mabel . August 2010 – 7.40 am April 21 2021. The lid , Painted box 2013.
Mabel . Painted box .

This poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, for me, sums up when they have sadly gone.

Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,

    And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,

    And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow

Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing

The summer through, and each departing wing,

    And all the nests that the bared branches show,

    And all winds that in any weather blow,

And all the storms that the four seasons bring.

You go no more on your exultant feet 

    Up paths that only mist and morning knew,

Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat

    Of a bird’s wings too high in air to view,—

But you were something more than young and sweet

    And fair,—and the long year remembers you.

Anemone’s in a jug

Anemone’s in a jug. Oil on board .2021.

With this little painting, I would like to pay my respects to all those who have lost loved ones and friends in recent months, it’s life changing and painful . Today, like many of us, my thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen, the royal family and friends who mourn the loss of Prince Philip ,The Duke of Edinburgh.

Detail. The Annunciation.

Today as part of Lent, the Christian community commemorates Angel Gabriel’s visit to The Virgin Mary . His message is that she will conceive a son , and that he will be called Jesus.

Traditionally known as Lady Day, it’s been celebrated since the fourth and Fifth centuries.

In this painting , my long-suffering sister modelled for me , dressing up, trying different poses and staying still . That day there was a lot of experimenting, and we spent some time discussing just how Mary might have felt about the appearance of an angel and the news he gave her . In the end it was Mary’s modesty and grace that decided this pose, although I did make some other studies that danced to a slightly different beat ……

The Annunciation . Oil on board . 2016 . On public view in All Saints Church, Marazion, Cornwall.

It would seem odd not to mention – This morning, a Culdrose plane crashed in a field in our village, thankfully I am told the two airmen had ejected from the falling craft, and are now safe . The emergency services and recovery people where on site in minutes. My thanks to the pilots who manoeuvred the plummeting aircraft away from dwellings and to all of those who did such a professional job during this emergency, x.

On the easel

The posy . 2021 . Oil on board.

In progress.

I was given a small posy of flowers and wanted to capture them before they faded. In the end, I decided to use a bright palette of colours to hasten spring… in my studio at least.

Work continues.

Enjoy your weekend x

Ruby Sleeping .

This is my old rescue dog Ruby, part whippet part terrier. She was known for sharing happiness and any food you might have. When I had a painting studio at Porthleven on the harbour, in the old net lofts, she would come with me each day . While I worked, she would snooze in the chair until lunch time when we’d take a walk to blow the cobwebs away, then it was back to painting for me and back to sleep for her. Contented , with twitching paws, she’d dream of seeing the Ship Inn cat again tomorrow !

Ruby asleep in the Net Loft Studio Porthleven . 1987.Oil on paper.

On St Valentines Day …..

This painting, made a few years ago, was inspired by old archive pictures I came across of a Cornish Carnival. These children are in fancy dress as a newly married couple with their dog as the bridesmaid, they have stopped to pose for a photograph on the harbour front .

Whatever you do …. Have a great day x !

'The Wedding group' Children with their dog dressed as a bride in a fancy dress competition, Cornwall.Behind the group men row a boat.
‘The wedding group, St Mawes Carnival, Cornwall’. 2013 . Oil on board .
Bubble.

Summer

Summer is a special time, perhaps that feeling began in childhood having time to yourself because of the school holidays. To me it now offers the opportunity to recharge low batteries after the grey winter months . Flower filled borders, colour, the chance to throw open the windows and doors, cast off old jumpers and have picnics outside, sharing unhurried time with family and their news. A tonic for us all.

Summer afternoon . Oil on board.

This poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, called The summer shone around me, reminds me of rural life in my childhood , playing in nearby fields, discovering the rich diversity of unfamiliar insects and wildlife that lived there and making up names for some that bore no accuracy other than perhaps in colour or shape .

THE summer sun shone round me,

The folded valley lay

In a stream of sun and odour,

That sultry summer day.

The tall trees stood in the sunlight

As still as still could be,

But the deep grass sighed and rustled

And bowed and beckoned me.

The deep grass moved and whispered

And bowed and brushed my face.

It whispered in the sunshine:

“The winter comes apace.”

Detail.Local children playing cricket, Cornwall. Oil on board.
Sisters on the beach with the dog. Oil on board .

As the quality of light changes and the evenings begin to cool my senses are heightened by the changing colours and textures in nature. Admiral spiders appear in quiet corners of the house in spite of evictions. In the garden fledglings have grown fatter and wiser, those that have made it that is. Only stumps are left now where the spring cabbages once flourished before the caterpillars moved in and were left to have a party ! The scarlet runner bean flowers and green tendrils twist ,reaching into the air because they have grown so tall and run out of poles, the potatoes are ready to be lifted and the apples are falling. It is beautiful to stand in the garden to hear the crows calling across the fields , I feared they had all gone after so much gunfire in the last days of August. It never ceases to amaze me how nature continues through adversity, to bring us its amazing seasonal gifts .

Summer catch. Oil on board.

I hope that you have had a good summer and enjoy the last of its warmth and colour x.

Hokusai & Mount Fuji .

Hokusai returned again and again to Mount Fuji as subject matter. He considered the mountain to be the source of the secret of immortality because of the goddess in the tale of the Bamboo cutter, who deposited the elixir of life at its peak.

Fine Wind,Clear Morning by Hokusai. (Shimane Art Museum).

Katsushika Hokusai, (1760–1849), is a wonderful artist, printer and engraver. I was introduced to his work at college where I realised I was already familiar with his famous image of the wave, because it is so universally popular. Wood block printing is a real craft, a traditional form of art in Japan known as ‘Ukiyo-e’ which refers to pictures printed in many colours using woodblocks, and popular in Japan around the 18th century .

The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa.

He played a significant roll in influencing Western artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries , an influence that is evident in many of the works by Monet, Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh. I was surprised as a student to learn that this influence on the impressionists and post impressionists began, in a way, because of the ceramics that were being exported to the west, they were being wrapped in Ukiyo-e prints, because they were were not valued, and were used as wrapping paper to protect the pots on their journey. Of course when the western artists saw how different they were, their influence began to spread .

The New Fields at Ōno in Suruga Province (Sunshū Ōno shinden).

These images come from the series of 36 and more wood block prints that Hokusai made of Mount Fuji, and I this thought it might be a good way to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

A special good wish to John Rudd and all , he is leading Ireland’s Swimming and Diving team in this years Olympics.

Painting of two children looking at a naked chicken that science invented to save time in the meat industry. Childhood innocence, science, morality, politics.
Children looking at a naked chicken . Oil on card . 2006. 10 x 13″

I have over the years often returned to children and childhood as the subject of my paintings. This follows two paths of exploration, my own childhood memories and experiences, and the lives and moments I witness of children that are part of my family or that I happen to encounter.  

Painting of a girl singing to the family pet spirits.
Holly sings to the angel pets
painting of a child by the sea, pushing a pram with a doll and teddy passed a frightening scarecrow.
Child with a pram . Oil on board . 2012 .

Children are so full of hope, and unencumbered by ego. They live for the moment and embrace life, real or imagined . They trust us to do the right thing, by them and for the world, the same things that mattered to us when we were small, and that so many adults have long since forgotten or abandoned, for whatever reason . 

A tonally dark painting of a child lighting a church candle, behind her is a painted figure.
Remember you are loved . Oil on board . 2008 .

In some paintings I have explored the moment a child recognises the power they hold over a weaker friend, I wonder, what path will they choose, to be kind or to harm?

Painting of a boy encouraging his dog to leap off a cliff- continues to observe power within a relationship, who holds it, can they be trusted with it. Moral questions and subject matter frequently explored in her other work.
Oil on board. 2007. Part of ‘Fragile lives’ series.

Those I know hold a lust for life, like to laugh, are full of hope and want to learn, to know how things work. Viewing the world with humanity and openness, uncluttered by too much analysis. They are good company with amazing ideas, which are refreshing and humbling.

Painting of a boy with a pony on Dartmoor
‘Don’t rush through life, take time just to be’

Just a few of the reasons children and childhood continue to inspire my work.

Have a great weekend ! x

G7 Cornwall.

A painting illustrating one of Aesop's Fables. Mans lust for glory clouds judgment- with children dressed as animals
Aesops Fable . Mans Lust for Glory clouds Judgment . Oil on linen . 2009.

As the great and the good are meeting here in Cornwall very soon, I thought I’d post a few of my paintings with old News Headlines, which highlight a few of the G7 issues to be addressed.

The seven G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Represented jointly by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, the EU participates in all discussions as a guest. The UK has also invited leaders from Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders’ Summit as guest countries.

Issues on the agenda – Biodiversity, Governance, Health, Sustainable Development, Industrial Development, Economics & Investment, Climate Change, National Action.

G7 set to strike deal on global corporate taxation

Painting about wwwfacebook.com accused of selling users harvested personal data. To the right of the painting Mark Zuckerberg holds a hoover and is sucking up the contents of the room from the seated figure on the left who is using their computer.
April 20th, 2018. wwwfacebook.com is accused of selling users harvested personal data. Oil on board. 100 painted vows.

Delegates at the meeting said the G7 would agree in principle to change the basis of international corporate tax law for the first time in a century. The historic plan aims to force the world’s biggest companies to pay more tax in countries where they do business, not only where they are headquartered.

Financial Times . Chris Gileshttps://www.ft.com/content/9eeba922-25a9-4a3a-960d-afca8d139909

G7 nations committing billions more to fossil fuel than green energy

An Ex Votive painting about Global Warming showing an elephant dying of thirst, a Polar Bear on an Island of ice , traffic fumes and a burnt and bandaged baby Kangaroo.
2017. Global Warming . Help us to see what a wonderful world this is, and to take better care of it . Ex Voto

The nations that make up the G7 have pumped billions of dollars more into fossil fuels than they have into clean energy since the Covid-19 pandemic, despite their promises of a green recovery.

The support for fossil fuels from seven of the world’s richest nations included measures to remove or downgrade environmental regulations as well as direct funding of oil, gas and coal.

Paul Cook, the head of advocacy at Tearfund, which operates in some of the poorest countries in the world most affected by global heating, said: “Every day, we witness the worsening consequences of the climate crisis for communities around the world – farmers’ crops failing; floods and fires engulfing towns and villages; families facing an uncertain future.

Painting about climate change .fire burns as farm animals roam and men fight to put it out.
24th June 2018. Pennine Moor , Lancashire, Uk. The army helped over 100 fire fighters to battle the worst wildfire there in living memory. Its been burning for weeks. Oil on board . 100 Painted Vows . Ex Votive.
Global Warming :Painting about Africa showing a broken Aircraft, houses, people using a freezer as a boat, and a man asking for help with cattle swimming in the flood. Cyclone Idai reminds us of the impact of Climate change . 120 mile an hour winds, then floods caused death and devastation to people and animals.
March 15th 2019. Africa. Cyclone Idai reminds us of the impact of Climate change . 120 mile an hour winds, then floods caused death and devastation to people and animals.

The Guardian . By Sandra Laville .https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/02/g7-nations-committing-billions-more-to-fossil-fuel-than-green-energy

‘Stop talking, start acting’ on plastic waste, Chris Packham urges G7

Human impact on Nature: Environmental Crime. Painting showing Sir David Attenborough. showing us our plastic is killing marine life and birds, and that we need to clean up.Two figures behind him throw down plastic and a puffin flies in from the sea to feed its chick with plastic
2018. UK. Thanks for Sir David Attenborough. He has shown us our plastic is killing marine life and birds, and that we need to clean up. Oil on board. 100 painted vows.

300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year but less than 10% of all plastic has ever been recycled. Calling for the issue to be a priority at next month’s G7 summit in Cornwall, television presenter Chris Packham, along with Nestlé, the Co-op, and Aldi, as well as raft of politicians and NGOs are all urging the government to set out a globally aligned approach to deal with the problem.

Independent .  Harry Cockburn . https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/chris-packham-plastic-pollution-g7-b1854436.html

UK ranked worst in G7 for losing wildlife and wild spaces

SHOPPING : The Yellow Finch Painted Lid The Yellow Finch Painted Lid oil painting of a yellow finch flying painted onto the wooden lid of a container
The yellow Finch.
An Ex Votive painting showing rows of endangered Uk Insects , displayed like a victorian specimen drawer.
March 7th 2019 . Scientists warn that our insects could be extinct in a century .

‘We should all be alarmed that while Boris Johnson is saying the right things, this is not translating into action in Westminster,’ says RSPB chief.

Independent – https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/g7-uk-wildlife-environment-b1847618.html

Migrant crossings: Almost 200 people cross English Channel

31st May 2016. Refugees die trying to cross the sea . 100 Painted Vows . Ex Votive.

Nine boats carrying almost 200 migrants crossed the English Channel in one day.

The Home Office said a further 53 people were prevented on Thursday from making the journey by French authorities, who stopped three boats.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Criminal gangs are putting people’s lives at risk. These dangerous and unnecessary crossings to the UK from safe EU countries are taking advantage of our broken asylum system, which is why we are working to fix it.”

BBC . https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-57118482

Dominic Raab welcomes G7 foreign ministers to London for first face-to-face talks in two years as they discuss ‘rising threats’ from China and Russia

Asked what message the summit communique to be issued on Wednesday will send to authoritarian regimes, Mr Raab said: ‘We believe in keeping trade open, we believe in standing up for open societies, for human rights and democracy, we believe in safeguarding and promoting public good, whether it is the environment and tackling climate change, particularly with (climate change summit) Cop26 coming up in November, but also dealing with pandemics and public health more generally.’

Painting of a woman driving in a car with Russian bombers flying above St Eval church, Cornwall , and Typoon jets escorting them away.
18th Feb 2014. St Eval, Cornwall. Sue Bamford saw two Russian Bear Bombers flying above the A30. RAF Typhoons escorted them away. Oil on Board . 100 PaintedVows . Ex Votive.
A painting about the poisoning of two people in Salisbury. The father and daughter are on a bench unconcious , 2 men in protective suits attend, the cathedral is behind and Theresa May talks with a police man.
March 5th 2018 . Salisbury England . Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia fight for their lives , after being poisoned with a nerve agent. Oil on board. 100 painted Vows . Ex Votive.
Ex Votive.Effect of war on children.Painting title - April 27th 2016 Al Quds Field Hospital , Aleppo ,Syria. Staff and Patients are killed in an air strike by Government and Russian forces. Oil on board.Two children are injured one cries and looks at his damaged hands. Behind them a bomb explodes and two men in dark suites watch .
Title – April 27th 2016 Al Quds Field Hospital , Aleppo ,Syria. Staff and Patients are killed in an air strike by Government and Russian forces. Oil on board.100 painted Vows.
War : painting about the war in Syria dated 2014.The central panel of a triptych to remind us of world conflict - flower paintings either side are memorials to the suffering and loss of war. It shows a family ,a bomb drops from a helicopter and two angels grieve over what is happening.
Syrian Family. Part of triptych . Oil on board . 2014

G7 ministers will invest 15 billion US dollars (£10.9 billion) in development finance over the next two years to help women in developing countries access jobs, build resilient businesses and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

They are also expected to sign up to new targets to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in poorer nations by 2026, the FCDO said.

But the commitments come as Mr Raab faces sustained criticism for cuts to foreign aid, from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%, citing the financial impact of the pandemic.Those attending were also due to discuss violence in Ethiopia, Iran and North Korea, Somalia, the Sahel and western Balkans, as part of what the UK Government said were ‘pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights’. 

Ex Votive.The effect of war on women and children. Painting title.25th August 2017. Many thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees suffer as they seek safety in Bangladesh to escape the violence. In the foreground woman and children await their fate, one holds a baby with a burnt head, behind them are soldiers with guns, beyond a home is on fire.Aung San Suu Kyi walks down a red carpet towards the viewer.
Title – 25th August 2017. Many thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees suffer as they seek safety in Bangladesh to escape the violence.

By JACK MAIDMENT and JAMES ROBINSON . Link – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9539849/G7-pushes-solidarity-tackle-global-threats.html?ito=email_share_article-factbox 

G7 leaders told to scrap discriminatory gender laws from statute books

(This article is more than 1 year old) G7 leaders at the summit in Biarritz. 

The G7 leaders have been told to get rid of discriminatory gender laws that still exist on their statute books and begin enshrining equal rights in the legal system.

Discriminatory laws range from the UK’s legal position on child marriage, to limits on free contraception in Germany, or regressive laws on abortion in certain US states and a lack of federal law guaranteeing paid maternity leave.

February 2019. Across the world millions of children are being forced into marriage . Oil on board . 100 PaintedVows

The leaders were addressed by the Nobel laureate Nadia Murad – a Yazidi woman from Iraq who was kidnapped and raped by Islamic State before she escaped, going on to become a human rights campaigner –– and Denis Mukwege a Congolese gynaecologist who has treated tens of thousands of rape survivors.

Ex Votive Painting. Title. 2014, September 23rd. A pregnant woman escapes an Isis camp near Mosul where kidnapped women and girls are held for conversion , sold as slaves and for sex. 3 women await their fate in distress, 2 hooded men hold weapons.
Wednesday 23rd Sept 2014. A pregnant woman escapes camp in Mosul, held with other women to convert to Islam by Isis . She walked for 3 days to escape. 3,500 women and girls as young as 9 are kidnapped and sold for slaves and for sex. We give thanks for the pregnant woman who escaped and remember and pray for the women there. Oil on board. 100 painted Vows. Ex Votive.
A woman has two small daughters taken by Isis. She goes mad shouting the world must help us or they will never be seen again. She lives under a bridge. 23rd September 2014. Oil on board. Ex Votive.

The Guardian . Angelique Chrisafis. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/25/g7-leaders-told-to-scrap-discriminatory-gender-laws-from-statute-books

Mums too poor to buy nappies, 200 rise in families using food banks – why Biden’s G7 heaven is hell for residents

Painting about poverty in Cornwall.Showing a child and figures with a food bank van by the seaside.
July 2018. Cornwall.Uk. Food Banks across the country continue to be a vital lifeline for many.

But as Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Co discuss cancelling Third World debt, they will be doing so in one of the poorest parts of Britain — where thousands struggle to feed their families or buy nappies for their babies. 

The use of local food banks has soared by 200 per cent in the last year alone. 

“People think Cornwall is the second home of the rich and famous — well, a small part might be but the rest of us are really struggling. 

“We’ve got a real problem here. I’ve been out of work for ten months and using the food bank for six months because it’s the only way me and my ten-year-old son can eat.

A Prayer painting showing homeless people sleeping in winter . Behind is St Michaels Mount - December 2018 . Cornwall . The homeless struggle to survive the freezing temperatures . Dave said ," I just want to go to heaven ". St Petrocs help .
December 2018 . Cornwall . The homeless struggle to survive the freezing temperatures . Dave said ,” I just want to go to heaven “. Oil on board. Ex Votive .

https://www.zoecameron.co.uk/mental-health-living-on-the-streets/

The Sun. Ben Griffiths . Graeme Culliford https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/15039466/g7-heaven-hell-cornwall-poor-food-banks/

Government continued to source PPE from Malaysia suppliers accused of modern slavery 

Gloves manufactured by a company under investigation for labour abuses, are being used by frontline healthcare workers in the NHS. The government continued to source personal protective equipment (PPE) from companies facing modern slavery allegations, despite promises to crack down on suppliers accused of labour abuses, The Independent can reveal.

Ex Votive.Painting showing a man to the centre arms crossed, with attitude and a stick looks out at the viewer around him are examples of figures enslaved.
18th February 2019. Slavery still exists across the world. Oil on board. 100 vow paintings. Ex Votive.
Covid Nurses fight to save a life . Oil on board . 2020.

The Independent . Samuel Lovett . https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/covid-ppe-gloves-malaysia-nhs-government-latest-b1812320.html 

Contemporary Fisherwomen.

I came upon the work of Photographer Craig Easton recently. He has made a wonderful study of contemporary Fisherwomen of the country. In his work he celebrates the roll of women in the fishing Industry, communities and their links to centuries gone.

Craig Easton. The Hands that gut the Herring.

Living and working in Cornwall I have gained the greatest respect for anyone who lives from the sea, out in all weathers and conditions, when any misjudgment can have serious consequences .

The Newlyn School Artists told of similar stories at the time. Perhaps offered in a less fashonable form. All the same, the painters skill and narrative brought those women to life , they’re faces and clothes, red working hands , the community, and the tragedies .

By Elizabeth Forbes. Penlee House Museum Penzance .

To find out more about both Craig Easton and some of the Newlyn Artists follow the links below.

https://www.craigeaston.com/fisherwomen

https://www.penleehouse.org.uk

Happy Easter!

Spring , to see new growth in the garden and in the countryside, the brightness and quality of light , nature in its newness is such a tonic for us all after this winter. Brave flowers slowly begin to appear and the trees come into blossom . It is also time to celebrate in the Christian calendar , a time of rebirth for us all.

This is a painting of the view from my studio window, together with a poem about daisies , because like poet Marjorie Pickthall, I too love to see them on the lawn and watch the little birds eat their seeds when they think no ones looking .

I’d like to wish you a very happy Easter, with plenty of chocolate eggs x !

Narcissi on the studio window ledge. Oil on board .

Daisy Time

By Marjorie Pickthall

See, the grass is full of stars, 

Fallen in their brightness; 

Hearts they have of shining gold, 

Rays of shining whiteness. 

Buttercups have honeyed hearts, 

Bees they love the clover, 

But I love the daisies’ dance 

All the meadow over. 

Blow, O blow, you happy winds, 

Singing summer’s praises, 

Up the field and down the field 

A-dancing with the daisies. 

MARJORIE PICKTHALL

Stations of The Crosshttps://www.zoecameron.co.uk/public-spaces/truro-cathedral-6/

Because it’s cold out there ……

I thought I’d post a painting made in 2008 of flowers and the produce from our garden ….. it wont be long before they are real , and we can enjoy them both in our gardens and on our tables . Hang on in there x.

Aesop’s wisdom.

A painting which illustrates Aesops Fable 'Mans lust for glory clouds judgement' the lion is about to kill the deer and the children in costume as animals carry the deer on a golden throne towards its ultimate death
Mans lust for glory clouds judgement . Oil on canvas . 2009

Today Aesops wisdom rang in my ears. His stories sum up human frailties and universal life lessons for us all, a narrative that a few people in the public eye could benefit from right now.

self-aggrandisement#destructive cycles of behaviour#mental health.

Pangolins

Environmental crime. Sir David Attenborough. Human impact on Nature: Environmental Crime. painting of many dead pangolin hanging on a line and mother and baby alive, with another up a tree. Asia/Africa . One Pangolin is illegally taken from the wild every 5 minutes. A newly discovered fingerprint technique may help to save them from extinction.
17th February 2018. Asia/Africa . One Pangolin is illegally taken from the wild every 5 minutes. A newly discovered fingerprint technique may help to save them from extinction.

It was world Pangolin day this month, highlighting their need for our help. Life for everyone is without doubt, very complicated and difficult right now , but as a painter, the disturbance I feel in my heart and head for environmental crime continues . It was in 2018, prompted by disquiet when their plight was first brought to the worlds attention, that I made this little Ex Votive painting about Pangolins, sweet natured , minding their own business, just living in the forest, but if found, their gruesome fate is made evident in the background of this picture.

Sir David Attenborough is vice -president of this conservation charity, if you’d like to give them a hand in what they do, here is the link .

https://www.fauna-flora.org/appeals/protect-our-pangolins

Another blog – endangered-species-our-planet/

Holocaust Memorial Day.

On this day, and everyday …. we share in remembering .

WAR: Holocaust Memorial Day, a prayer Painting of Hungarian Jewish children with an old lady walking beside the railway track to the Auschwitz Birkenau gas chambers and their death above are paintings made by the prisoners there to entertain the children
Title : 27.1.2018.Holocaust Memorial Day. 1944 Auschwitz 11-Berkenau. Hungarian Jewish children and an elderly woman on the way to the gas chambers. From the series, ‘100 painted Vows’.

Who tilts the scales?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 6
Copyright © Zoe Cameron 2007 - 2021 All Rights Reserved

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close