Finding more than I bargained on


As I pulled art pad after art pad from my folder and turned the leaves, I smiled, laughed and occasionally grimaced. I found sketches of my children, pets, and articles from around the house. The more I looked the more I realised the stories I’d been telling through my art. One story was perfectly clear.

The story I sketched over a number of weeks was of my daughter’s preparations for leaving home. Maybe I drew them as a subconscious cathartic experiment, as I witnessed the departure of my first child from the nest. Whatever the true motive, these sketches show what I couldn’t put into words about my daughter taking flight into the big wide world and starting out on her own.


The images above are of Lara’s room, where I sat as she started to sort through her precious things and pack them away for future scenarios. She loved containers, from hatboxes to suitcases, both little and large. There was even a birdcage, minus a bird, thank goodness. Only old things seemed to catch her eye; perhaps it was the knowledge of a life being lived before. The leather was usually worn and sometimes battered and it was one of these larger cases that she chose for her adventure. And all too soon the bag was packed.


The first two sketches I drew quite quickly, whereas the one above I staged, taking several hours sitting in a chilly hallway to complete the composition. And yes, Lara liked wearing hats, as I did back in the day. I could only find a small photo of the original, a full page A2, and my copy here does not show the detail as well as I’d like. I used graphite for these images.

After finding these drawings I went searching for others, which I remembered  doing in ink. I was into making series of images at the time, and experimenting with new mediums. I found the images, but tiny photos only of each, framed ready for hanging. These were sold from that exhibition.

x 3 Lara

The statement is clear, when I view a coat hanging from the doorknob, a suitcase on the floor, to my daughter wearing the coat and opening the door. She has clearly left the house, with the door now closed. One last sketch from this series is also in ink, and fortunately an original. Possibly I’d used it as preparatory sketch for the centre image.


PS. My daughter remains as independent and courageous as the day she left home.

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