The 2021 Victorian Salon des Refusés
This portrait was submitted to the 2020 Archibald Prize.
click on artwork to enlarge
Cat #25 Kathryn Tilley
SUE VON HESSE - HEALER
Egg tempera, 24 Carat Gold Leaf, Wooden Panel
45 cm high x 40 cm wide
I chose to paint Sue in this Medieval technique of icon painting and illuminated manuscripts of the 15th century Renaissance period in Northern Italy, because she is a healer who believes in past lives and has a very clear vision of a life she lived in this period.
Regarding the symbolism of the border: the rose is a feminine symbol of Sue’s love of nature. It also represents love, beauty, mother-hood and purity and shows the quest for realism during this period. Flies in Medieval Art represent death which in turn heralds new life and, as Sue is a strong believer in reincarnation, it represents a new beginning for her, a new life. Animals often appear. Here I have included her dog “Yarkoff” who decided to live with her even though he had a home elsewhere. She believes he is a spiritual animal with insight. The snail merely represent nature and is a creature of the earth as representation of the natural world was common at this time.
The combination of a contemporary woman inside a border of an illuminated manuscript is very unusual but is deeply connected to Sue herself as it is a symbol for her personal spiritual journey in this life.
For over 20 years Sue has studied alternative health practices. She has been a selfless and driving force in the healing of those in distress. She has shared her knowledge and skills with love, compassion and generosity and has been a comfort and loving friend to all who come into contact with her. I wanted to give back to her all that she has given out to others by painting her and tapping into her inner beauty.