The following entry is from my Groundbreaking Girls website. This week, I’ve been particularly encouraged by the sculptor, Barbara Hepworth. All of the ladies I paint are inspiring, but every so often a mentor comes along at just the right time. I cherish those moments of this project. Thank you, Barbara, for being the fill-in mentor this week.
“A woman artist is not deprived by cooking and having children –one is in fact nourished by this rich life, provided one always does some work each day; even a single half hour, so that images grow in one’s mind.” —Barbara Hepworth
Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth ( 1903 – 1975) was an English sculptor, one of the few female sculptors of her era. She was revolutionary in her style and approach as she carved massive Modernist sculptures by hand. She was also the mother of four….three of them, triplets. In her lifetime, she did achieve some international success, but she was often thought of as provincial because she was a mother and therefor lacked the freedom of her male contemporaries. Still, the focus of her life and her attention to her children in each season caused her work to be extra special, which aficionados especially appreciate now.
Artist’s note: I was drawn to paint Barbara Hepworth after receiving an email from my husband’s first girlfriend (a friend of mine too) in which she remembered visiting the Barbara Hepworth house in St. Ives, Cornwall, when they were art students. I remembered visiting it too with him (over 20 years later) when we visited St. Ives with my traveling parents. I love when I paint a person, and learn about about her, and hers is just the message I need to hear. Granted, this is often the case when I paint artists and writers…but her story came to me in a time when I was really struggling with the idea of trying to be an artist and support my family as a single mother. I was trapped in the story that I couldn’t do it all. So finding out that this woman whom I already admired (I’ve touched her work in its natural habitat!) also had TRIPLETS (along with a first child from another marriage) was a kiss of life to a hurting soul. Granted, she was a genius, but I am inspired. Yes, please, Ms. Hepworth, I’d love you to be my mentor! <3
“I found one had to do some work every day, even at midnight, because either you’re professional or you’re not.”—Barbara Hepworth