Creation Date



image preview


oil on canvas


Dimensions: 4' x 6'

Artist Statement

In Japan, I had the opportunity to view James Ensor’s The Garden of Love. Although the painting’s subject was a metaphor often depicted at the time, I have never seen anything before or since resembling the way he handled his medium. The paint had a quality I can only describe as lyrical, and across the canvas he worked in every conceivable technique. Thickly with bold strokes, with thin and blended ones, sculpting large flat planes and then incising lines into them. These manners of working sound incongruent, yet the painting forms a consistent whole, no part looks out of place by any other part, and forms a cohesive image. I looked at it for over an hour and had to be torn away. It was a Garden of Love, but it was about painting itself.

I feel I have finally at the end discovered who I am as an artist. First, I am not an ‘artist,’ I am a painter. And second, for me, my art making lies in representational depiction, not in abstraction, with the choices in distortion and stylization making the content of my work. Then, my personal and highly intuitive working process and relationship with the paint makes a unique signature that I hope to fully develop with further practice.

Here I painted the cul-de-sac where I was raised, from my own supposed perspective as a child. My goal here was like Ensor, to create first a painting about painting, and then to paint my subject of my childhood neighborhood. I have no romantic notions of this perspective, nor a desire to return to it. However, the inaccuracies of human perception at that age and their resulting behaviors are fascinating to me, and seem to hold many rich avenues for my future work.

For N Mirror Creek PL, a naïve style was chosen as a deliberate representation method for my subject matter. Distortions in size are both hierarchical alluding to the mental perspective of children, e.g., my house is the biggest house, and an allusion to the crude skill level most child artists have. For color, I mostly restricted myself to shifts in hue, rather than utilizing a full palette of tints, shades, and neutrals, to evoke the palette children are often restricted to in their box of markers, chalk, or crayons.

By using deliberate distortions, I am storytelling through the depiction of the space in which I lived, rather than by illustrating any specific events.


© Josephine Elise Forrester, 2015. Photo credit: Josephine Elise Forrester.


naïve, childhood, neighborhood, local, color, oil