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Artist Comments

I saw this as a picture when I was going to have a wash and go to bed. It took 5 years to finish! It was in the bathroom for my children, the length of the bath square so there wasn't much room with the painting in there.

I did a plan in pencil first only positioning the main things, sink, mirror etc - not a drawing for looking at. Then I transferred that information to the canvas. I put the descriptive bits in as I went along, my reflection, the objects, the pattern on the wallpaper.

Points which maybe of some interest:

1. The wallpaper. I blutacked a grid of cotton threads on the wall where a pattern repeat came on a chosen rose. I drew the grid in pencil on the painting. Standing there, the grid ( and flowers) gets smaller towards the top of the wall and the sides because further away from my eyes. There is a cloth curtain on the left side in the same pattern.

2. Painting the flowers. I drew them all onto the painting in pencil. They were done in batches, a few days per batch; finding, drawing and repeating, then onto the next batch. It was the same process for painting. Please notice I then had to fill in all the background spaces behind them - it's a pinky grey!

3. The pattern repeats again in the mirror and then in the medical cabinet. The dense rose pattern round the mirror made me think of Sleeping Beauty, and "Mirror mirror on the wall".

4. I'm wearing a dress my husband bought me for my 44th birthday. I needed glasses part way through painting the picture. I think I look quite boyish and naive, but that's ok!

5. My watch. I've taken it off and the time I've recorded is 11.55pm, almost midnight. As in the story of Cinderella, the edifice we've built our dreams on may crumble if we don't take notice. Or maybe that's ok, a grand recycling? The white spot on the strap was my concentration aid on which I could put my finger if I felt a bit worried by life.

6. The title of the painting "Here I Am" shows me, it is evidence that I am here and in this place. But I am only seeing a chosen reflection and an interpretation of an illusion.

7. "Here I am" is part of an Old Testament story in the book of Samuel (1 Samuel ch.3). Samuel was 13 and lived in the temple. One night he heard a voice calling his name. He answered "Here I am" and thought it was Eli his teacher, but Eli sent him back to sleep. After 3 times Eli realised the call came from God and told Samuel, if the voice came again, to reply "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening".