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  • Writer's pictureJane Wilcoxson

Repurposing Childhood Memories

A fellow artist David Hettinger, an award winning master oil painter, recently described in a blog post, The Failing Art of Demographics that the inspiration for many of his paintings comes from childhood memories.  He went on to describe his time as a Boy Scout, which allowed him many adventures into the great outdoors, which years later have transcribed into landscape paintings that are poetically beautiful. This blog reminded me that at the age of six I joined the Brownies in order to do all the things he described, the camping, hiking and cooking food over an open flame.  My brothers also got to do all this good stuff and they came home every week from their meet ups smelling of bonfires and wet grass.

When my parents had spent their hard earned cash on my new uniform and I was fully invested and initiated into the Brownies, the hard stark truth of Brownie life sunk in - All we ever did was sit in the village hall learning how to knit, sew and lay a formal dinner table.  Needless to say I was wildly angry and disruptive. Disappointment can birth a whole range of outcomes and not all bad as it turns out.

So if I were to paint my memories from childhood I would have to choose the times where I had escaped from formal girl education into the farm yards and barns that surrounded my home in rural England. Here my friends and I would round up any large animal that would allow us to easily jump on their backs for a rodeo ride. Being bucked off a donkey or tossed into a stone wall by an angry farm pony was considered living life to its fullest.  Which I think is where my love for quirky animals comes from and why I strive to paint a world full of color and adventure.  

Using my unique and personal memories and all those attached feeling and emotions, is fertile soil for an artist and definitely an aid to be used often in the creative process.  For me memories are like having a scrapbook full of ideas waiting to be mixed up and repurpose into a new reality, in my case its a painting to be viewed  and contemplated.


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