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Hilary Bartholomew – Artist Statement
I am exhibiting oil paintings featuring garden birds and flowers. During the stillness and quiet of the first lockdown, nature seemed to flourish with new intensity; birds seemed busier, bolder and noisier. They were energetically getting on with their lives, while we had stopped. Confined to my home and garden, I studied them closely and the desire arose to make paintings of them in all their vivid life.
The paintings of waterlilies and wildflowers pre-date the pandemic, although their cycles of living and growing were as inspirational to me as those of the birds. Waterlilies find their way up from the mud and flower on the pond's surface; primroses, daisies and loosestrife emerge fresh each spring.
What makes me want to paint is a strong feeling, a sense of a real relationship between artist and subject so that I somehow recognise myself in what I am painting. This feeling can be evoked by a wide range of objects and people, and there is no mistaking the genuine buzz of excitement that precedes 'going for it' with clean brushes and fresh paint. The whole process is by turns a deeply satisfying and madly frustrating experience in which a kind of magic can, and sometimes does, happen.