Sanctuary is the first of a series of six paintings. The flooding in Somerset, putting livestock at risk and the 2001 foot and mouth tragedy and resulting multiple murder compelled me to paint this series depicting high ground/known beauty spots/places of interest with Ark. To many each of these events may have been just another news item but to many more a tragedy.
The six paintings depict some of the animals at risk and some of those safe from foot and mouth disease. All six depict a high place in Somerset with an Ark symbolising preservation of the breed or species.
I felt compelled to paint the series as a tribute and to dispel my anger at government inadequacy in dealing with the problem. The paintings are deliberately not meant to be gruesome or realistic with piles of burnt carcasses. This is not my way. I celebrate the existence of animals and feel sadness at any tragic loss.
The symbolic uses are simple to read on purpose. This series of six paintings is not meant to be “deep and mysterious.” They are a celebration and a personal comment, a collection of fantasy illustrations.
I grew up surrounded by a menagerie of animals and much of my art college work included my dog. My thesis was Animals in Art History. I have always been troubled by the suffering of animals and felt humbled by their collective dignity and resignation to human disrespect.