Birch Bark Paintings

Good bye, my love

Good bye, my love

My love for nature and trees informs my work. I love the imagery created by nature and it excites me to respond to that imagery. The attached photo demonstrates an emotional response to my perceptive loss of a dear loved one. Instead of writing about that loss, I illustrated that loss visually by tearing away a piece of the main body of bark, then attaching the smaller piece by sewing it back on. The visual representation with the thread attached, just barely, told the story that I was barely hanging on. I just was not through with the relationship, my love, my friend.

When I am old, I shall wear purple

This painting was done when I turned sixty. My painting, drawings, and photographs always have something to do with my life experience, my journey.  I include the poem from which this painting emerged.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples’ gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

by Jenny Joseph

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When I am old, I shall wear purple