This is a recent painting inspired by the 1c piece from Rhodesia, 1974 (now Zimbabwe) that I found in my studio recently. It’s a metre and a half tall and over half a metre wide and has the shades of bronze and copper that I am currently fixated with. I’m also preoccupied with value systems and what the numbers mean in our culture, and with what numbers, in this case, the number 1, can mean expressed in other ways; in and through individuals for instance. In our culture, people tend to look out for 'number one' or put themselves first - it's hard not to! - the pull of the culture is so strong. I like the expression of 1 as unity and oneness - the inscription states: We are one. 1 also expresses uniqueness, people are individual yet unique, but if we express love and empathy, we can still be one people, rather than peck at each other, which is out of order, as it were. My nana used to fondly call me number 2 as I was the second granddaughter. I didn't seem to mind. My sister was so desperate to be number 1 in all things that I was quite happy with my renegade 2ness. There is power in everyone and every number counts.
People always ask me what I'm reading. Currently, I have my nose in Goodbye to All That, by Robert Graves, which is splendid, and I use that word deliberately. The book has helped me get the vernacular of the time, that I've needed to nail in my own soon to be released book, Big Men's Boots, The Truth, which is also set in the first world war. I'm also consuming the WW1 tomes in order to make my home in the trenches, if you catch my drift. I often find myself sobbing with indignation at the injustice of it all. It all seems so vivid still. I always read the bible - Paul's letters currently. And, gspel, I try to consume and exude the words of Jesus. I'm better at the consuming bit, but hoping some sort of transformation is taking place, in order to help the mankind that kindly exists alongside me. On that note, my home-educated kids are having a creative and thought-provoking and thought-airing lives. There is much creativity and debate that takes place in our house, as well as much silliness, and general comedy - all of us do comedic turns, and we are all daftly yet deftly entertained. I miss my number one (only as he was born first) son who is in London. Here he is as a fetching footman in Brigerton. It hardly bridges the gap but is better than not seeing him, albeit trussed up in a wig, pantaloons and tights. A far cry from his usual get up.
Elsewhere in my life, I have begun teaching writing, which I haven't done - apart from a few workshops here and there - since I left the college I was teaching art (mainly drawing) and art and writing in a therapeutic context in, in 2009. I've had a delightful first group, and I'm thoroughly enjoying teaching. If you are interested in my courses or editing, publishing and marketing seminars please see subscription services at emilybarroso.co.uk