Without too much ado, I am partly able to share my story of how I came to be at Millbrig, through three simple pictures. You will of course have your own interpretation of the pictures, and your own experiences that may, or may not be reflected somewhere here…and I would like to hear from you, if you would like to share your story with me through art, or music, too.

Picture 1 - ‘Internal Prison’ by Penelope Wells

This picture is based on internal restraints, the imprisoning I felt, when in a previous relationship. There are, of course, certain ways of behaving in our society and we, therefore, internally adjust our behaviour, or internalise these external codes of behaviour, as deemed appropriate, by the bureaucratic system around us. I was inspired by reading Max Weber (1864-1920), as well as by how I felt at the time.

The prison bars represent how I felt trapped inside, and these are centred in the middle of the page, as I felt this in my stomach, the centre of my body. The reason why there are two sets of bars, is because one set are mine, and one set are the constraints felt by the other person in the relationship. However, these are not aligned, as his constraints were very different to mine.

There is hope in this picture. That is to say, there is light shining out from behind the black prison bars, and I knew even then, that my life was not at an end, but that the story was to be continued…hence the three dots.

However, in this case, it is important to know that I felt that my life had to continue, not just because of a general feeling of hope that shone through, but because I had three children, therefore each of the green dots represents one of them, and together they have helped move my story onward.

Picture 2 - ‘Explosion’ by Penelope Wells
There is only so much heat and light matter can take, before an explosion occurs, and that is what happened here. The relationship ended, and the shared constraints, and prison bars, and everything else, including the children, scattered to the four corners of the earth.
When worrying recently with a friend about the change of colour in the background, from red (picture one) to purple (this picture) being due to the fact that I had used up the red pastel, and could not afford to buy more, so had used purple instead, they kindly put me at ease by suggesting that in extreme heat, flames change from red to purple anyhow, so all is perfectly in order.
My eldest child, went almost completely out of the picture, my middle child was more or less away from the heat, but my youngest was the most affected by the explosion, so she is positioned nearest the centre of it. When the dust settled, she came to live with me again, and has been at Millbrig for the whole time I have although, like the other two, will be carving out her own life soon.

Picture 3 - ‘Calm after the storm’ by Penelope Wells
This picture represents my three children as they bob about on life’s great ocean. In this case, I am supporting them, so as their mother, I am the sea that carries them, in the natural way. However, I carry each of them in different ways, which is why there are three separate currents or strands running across the canvas. Of course I support other things in life too, (nobody would ever describe me as a traditional mothering type) such as; a fairer distribution of natural resources (and the benefits they bring) and the use of intelligent dialogue instead of violence and weapons, but none of these causes are reflected in this picture, although my ‘strands’ clearly run off the edge of the picture, so one can only assume they are active elsewhere.
The oldest child is by definition the ‘biggest’, and floats ahead of the other two. The middle one is floating, but just slightly weighed down, or ‘anchored’, in ways that the other two are not. The third, about the ‘same size’ as the middle one, is elevated like the first, and (if you look closely) the ‘gap’ between her and the middle one, is bigger than the ‘gap’ between the first and second, which brings in the only temporal aspect here – that of their ages.
This picture differs from the other two pictures, which reflected particular times of my life, a relationship and a break-up, respectively, whereas this one picture depicts a much longer period of time. I hope and believe that my support for them will continue long after I am not around.

Thank you for looking at my pictures.