Two Beds

Two Beds


As an artist who makes both paintings and prints, drawing feeds my practice. I also use a camera as source material, newspaper cuttings, books and magazines. This image germinated while I was drawing my family in the garden. (We have recently moved to the country and my sense of wonderment has escalated enormously as I watch and document the changes around me. Like a new convert, I am a man obsessed with the rich diversity of what is growing in the garden and with my children I am very moved by the wildlife that come to visit us. )

Two Beds is partly a celebration of this ongoing verdant experience, in stark contrast to being an artist living in an urban environment. But it is also a way of trying to deal with the onset of shrinking biodiversity in the natural environment. I wanted to use the cherry tree in blossom like a sky full of stars, a canopy. (An old medieval word that was used to describe a tent or inside of a cupola, often painted with stars.) The shape of the tree is reminiscent of two paintings, the Madonna del Parto and the Madonna della Misericordia, both by Piero della Francesca, in which the shape of the Virgin Mary's skirts, or the tent she is standing in, acts as a protective and enveloping shield for what lies below. In both paintings, the artist used the architectonic shapes of tent and vestments to accentuate/symbolise the positive role of The Virgin Mary acting as intercessor between God and humankind. In my paintings' case I wanted this canopy to act as a force field or atmosphere that shelters the garden, that in effect protects our planet.   

I also wanted the flowers, arranged in such a formal way, to allude to both tapestries and magic carpets and to remind one of seed packets and how they have photographs of the flowers grown from the seeds found inside them. I suppose without analysing too deeply into the reasons behind a particular image, I wanted to paint a seed ark so to speak, a visual reminder of how important it is to nurture our biodiversity that is so under threat.

Tom Hammick 2010