Our new book, ‘The Soul of the Sea’, in shops June 9th 2013. The images were originally part of an exhibition held at The Gallery, Mansell Street, Guernsey in October 2008. They are painted on a large scale and my aim was to evoke the romanticism of Hugo’s story as well as the lyricism of my husband’s poetry. I wanted to develop the flow and immediacy of my earlier Lamia series in colour and to do this I had to take risks with the paint allowing it to take shape on its own terms. I love the life force and expressive potential of watercolour and ink. My work now sits somewhere between illustration and pure painting. At times on my Fine Art degree course illustration was a bit of a dirty word; something that tutors warned us to stir clear of in our discipline; however, it was something I was always drawn to. I am greatly inspired by the dark brooding works in ink of Victor Hugo himself and used shapes and imagery echoed from his work in these paintings.
Victor Hugo was a resident of our beautiful Island for many years and wrote some of his greatest works here. His book “The Toliers of the Sea” is set in Guernsey and brilliantly showcases his huge, crashing, romantic view of the world. The book is wild like the ocean Hugo so loved and also as I imagine Hugo was himself, untamed and at times ferocious. I love this quote by Jean Cocteau which brilliantly captures and indeed characterises the great man. A few years ago, I had the extreme pleasure of drawing in Hauteville House as I prepared to illustrate Hugo’s book (it was turned into an epic ballad by my husband titled “The Soul of the Sea”). The staff very kindly allowed me time in the rooms alone to sketch and soak up the atmosphere. As the morning light steamed through the windows, I imagined Hugo walking around the corner to meet me. It was as if I was in a time machine, and his presence was oh, so close.