acrylics, oils , glitter and spray paint on canvas
size 200by 200
How did this painting come along?
I have an Italian Gallery owner friend of mine, who always comes to my studio and has been telling me- Selina , paint Magic again. Large scale is your ‘Forte’ , Magic Realism is your Card.
Considering large scale artworks 200 by 200 are so hard to sell on the island , everyone, even local gallerists have been making me forget about the love I have for larger scales. I hesitated for a bit but I decided to listen to his advise.
I spent months walking around Valletta the same path over and over again looking for magic. I knew it had to come from the President’s Palace, I just couldn’t find what or where. I took my son for a walk for the 1000th time there and decided to walk into the door to the museum and this time sat down.
And there they lay, those 2 magnificent lions. Sleeping guarding a door to I don’t know where.
And it hit me. Valletta’s lion, the spirit animal of it’s inhabitants. The lion king, the symbol of power and truth, which is seen on every emblem on every flag around this tiny city.
Then a few metres away sat a girl reading a book. I closed my eyes and I just could see the lions coming to life and startle her from the back.
So back home, I sat down and did some research . In not long I found out about the myth of Una and the Lion and gladly saw that other artists have also painted the subject.
This is a link
The execution took over 8 months of work and to be able to do it, my son had to join in for his first apprentice ship.
This painting is one that took me long hours and many days to complete. All the varnishes and glitter also make it extremely difficult to photograph. Who sees it in real life gets a very different feel to it to those who see it on photo. Mostly because it is so huge, with all the different effects of light it has that it is impossible to photograph it without loosing its various effects. I even had a film crew here who to tried to film it but the result was far from flattering. This is a painting that breathes. It is a painting that needs to be looked at as one walks across the room . A painting that has to be seen from far and as you walk slowly closer and closer to it , it changes with you. Alas, I do not have such a big space to give it what it deserves so it is lying quietly in my studio.
But what is it about and how did it come along?
‘Sunrise’ is based on a model of Saint George, on our Maltese flag’s George Cross. It is meant to be a Maltese symbol, but as I worked along something changed. Saint George retained his knighthood, but he became the sun, and the dragon he was slaying turned into his incredible pet tiger and together , they take over the girl’s dreams waking her up, maybe from her nightmares, who knows. Only Maltese people who have slept on a beach on a hot summer day, and have experienced the hot sun rays of the early summer sun on their skin can maybe understand what this painting is really about. You know, when the sun is that hot that it burns into your skin like it’s got claws…
I always wanted to be an artist because I was good at drawing and I used to think that it would have made me rich. Hate me or love me for it, I had always been motivated by the big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Little did I know that one can get lost on rainbows.
Seems like I underestimated myself. Dedicating my life to the brush and colours made me become this quixotic natured artist. I sometimes hate myself for being so idealistic and chivalrous but I really can’t help it. And although I try to kid myself that I am in this game for the money, I just am not….
This is an old painting of mine. It is called Ghost. The girl in the picture is my aunt. She killed herself at the age of 32. She was beautiful to look at, but her life was marred by tragedy ,loss, disease and heart break. I was 17 when she passed away. People still look at me and say to me that I look like her. It doesn’t bother me at all. She was so beautiful.
She is the biggest regret in my life. I feel that I could have saved her if I had shown a bit more love. She was so misunderstood and so unlucky. Even her wedding day, was a spectacle to forget. She married out of despair and had such a horrid little poor gathering ,not even her wedding dress was nice. She so deserved much more than life had offered her.
So I decided to paint her in a wonderful wedding dress, with swans and angles looking down on her, with lovely flowers in her hair among the stars and she loves it. This is my gift of love to her spirit watching over me.
This is the great thing about being an artist. Sometimes you can do things you wish you could have done and heal a wound. Sometimes you can show love in a way you could have never been able to express in words or actions.
I am not always serious and in need to save the world.
Sometimes, I just paint things I like when I listen to music I like.
In this case, I was inspired by this song
I saw fireflies once in Italy. They were so cute and magical.I always wished to wake up at night and look out of my windowsill and see fireflies dancing around my bonsai.