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"I Will Find You When the Night is Over".

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

(The Love That Moves (The End is Beginning) - Alex Henry Foster.

'emanation' detail. Alcohol and drawing ink on canvas.

It's very rare I do a big painting. I want them done in a day, a week at the most, I want the instant satisfaction and gratification that that brings, to sit back, light the proverbial cigarette, draw a line underneath it - right, what's next?

It's even rarer that I explain a big painting which invariably has a big story behind it. Art is complex, the reason I paint it, may not be the same reason why the viewer is drawn to it, and I usually like to leave it up to them to see in it, what they chose to.


This time I want people to know the message, it's an important one, especially with the upsurge of mental illness since the covid outbreak, the damage that the lockdowns brought on the vulnerable.

My friend was at a critical point in his recovery, he was beginning to see a way forward but just phone calls and text messages during lockdown weren't enough, he needed human contact, (don't we all?) and without it, slipped backwards and as you know, that still weighs heavy in my heart.

Since then I have had this image, not even an image, but a tiny spark, sitting there in the back of my mind. I suppose I felt I needed to deal with Danny's death with a painting. To draw a line underneath it...and so on.

I have suffered with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember and as soon as I was old enough, I was given medication. Going through each one, but with various side effects, or they just weren't helping anymore, came to the last one, the last resort. In my 30's and I had nowhere else to go. I met a brilliant GP at this point who was harsh, he refused me medication saying I would have to learn to live with it, make it my strength, not my weakness. I'm not going to delve too deeply into it because it's not the point, the point is; my GP said to me one day, "The path forward has to come from within you, no-one else can do it for you". That has stayed with me to this day.

There's a lot of talk on the various social media platforms at the moment about why people create and generally the answer has been the same. I, like many others have used art as a therapy for some time, to explore my emotions, feel my way through the dark, to organise my thoughts. And if I can make other people smile while I'm doing it, then all the better. Art in any form is a communication tool, it's a language dating from prehistoric man, forming and reforming as time passes.

As you know (or don't), I am a huge fan of fairy tales, folklore and symbolism, have you ever wondered why the witches and bad guys in children's stories often live in a forest? For centuries the forest has been associated with fear and danger. The landscape is misleading, confusing and out of control. Like the subconscious, taking you down a path, deeper into the darkness until eventually disappearing, invisible. With the sunlight blocked out by a labyrinth of branches, looming trees, an overpowering sense of despair creeps in, devouring an already dissipating heart.

I was experimenting with inks one day and a drop began running down the page, separating, until it looked like and upside down tree. If you've seen the tik-tok video's, you'll see I painted most of this upside down. Allowing the ink itself to do most of the painting, I just added a little detail here and there.

I still wasn't sure how I was going to pull this all together, so to ease the noise going on in my own head, I put some music on. At the time I was listening to "Windows in the Sky" by Alex Henry Foster, a lot!. I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard the line from his truly beautiful poem, "I will conquer darkness and make it shine", like a mantra.

And there it was, clear as day. I could see exactly where this painting was going.

"I will embrace the lights and let memories find their peace through shadows of time"

The Love That Moves (The End is Beginning) - Alex Henry Foster.

The colours needed to be chosen carefully, though I wanted the trees to be looming, the painting was about hope, not fear. Various shades of green and browns, calming, earthy colours, a bit of gold for the glimmer of peace, in Christianity it symbolises 'the brightness of day', (though, I'm not a Christian, I like the symbolism). The butterflies were added afterwards as a representation of resurrection, triumph of the spirit, new life.

The final piece is revealed when it gets dark. Using Stuart Semple's LIT powder mixed with Windsor&Newton's matt varnish, I have picked out the emanating light, the woman and the ground surrounding.

And as the night gets darker, the light gets brighter. A reminder that there is always hope, and strength can come from knowing that you are not alone.

"I will conquer darkness and make it shine"

The Love That Moves (The End is Beginning) - Alex Henry Foster.

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