Precious Time – Hourglass Painting

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Time is Precious

Autumn is a magical time. As the nights draw in and the mists descend, it’s a time to snuggle up with a fluffy blanket and a hot toddy, and prepare for the winter hibernation. Of course it’s the perfect time for ghost stories and horror films – the light is failing and the inevitable countdown to Christmas begins, signalling that the end of yet another year is fast approaching. I wanted my hourglass painting, Precious Time to reflect the new season.

Spooky Season

Halloween has always been my favourite season of celebration. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all:-

Bonfire Night for the toffee apples and baked potatoes cooked in the embers of a fire that’s been burning half of your face all evening, hot chocolate laced with rum, fireworks, treacle toffee and crunchy leaves underfoot, and of course the burning of an effigy of a historical terrorist… yeah, some of this stuff we could do with losing, but hey ho.

Christmas is awesome too – the whole lead up excites me: drinking mulled wine and advocaat, buying presents, the hustle and bustle, tinsel and baubles and Wham! It’s the celebration of the winter solstice, in essence.

Then there’s Easter. Easter is the time when you get to eat your entire body weight in chocolate eggs – it is, after all, the celebration of Eostre, pagan goddess of rebirth and fecundity. I touched on paganism and Christianity in my blog post about Ritual, but I highly recommend that you read up on how the Romans twisted paganism into Christianity to guide us into an entirely new dawn of religion.

Dawn French Playing Death in Murder Most Horrid

Halloween in the UK

But Halloween in the UK has been overlooked for years. Trick or treating happens, but with far less glitz and glamour than in the US. Generally, you get about three or four groups of scraggly looking kids in makeshift costumes semi-aggressively asking for money (because for some reason there’s been a misunderstanding of American culture – I blame that episode of Friends, where a heavily pregnant Rachel starts signing cheques for the kids). But I’ve always loved spooky season – as a kid, I would always dress up, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t allowed to go trick or treating (“It’s rude, knocking on people’s doors and begging!”).

Later in life, I made a tradition of going to the midnight marathon at The Hyde Park Picture House and then turned that into my own marathon of the same three films over and over – Rosemary’s Baby, then The Wicker Man, and then Don’t Look Now. Falling finally into sleep plagued by strange but vaguely comforting dreams.

Rosemary's Baby

The Passage of Time

2020 has changed our traditions and rituals, maybe indefinitely, but I wanted to celebrate Halloween, as much as any Brit can. I decided to create a painting that encompasses everything that the last quarter of every year represents – the witch figure with her raven familiar for Halloween, the misty forest with the final autumn leaves for the beginning of winter, the faint light for the nights drawing in, and the hourglass to signal the end of the year, an indicator of the passage of time. Unlike Ritual, the forest in this painting is cold and blue and I used a pinkish red shade on the leaves of the trees as a contrast. For the trees, I used a gloss finish acrylic, which gives them an almost glittering quality in certain lights.

Precious Time is not my first witch, but she might be my most traditional. Despite the fact that she is missing her pointed black hat and broomstick, I wanted her to be a formidable figure, a young Granny Weatherwax of sorts, stern and formidable, but not necessarily an antagonist. She differs from paintings like Devil’s Mark in that she is instantly recognisable as a witch, unlike Rosemary…

Devil's Mark (A Witch Called Rosemary)

Although,  Precious Time could be seen purely as a seasonal painting, the passage of time is always on our minds – we are busy all the time, rushing to be places, running late always in this modern world. Rarely do we take pause to consider how precious our time is and understand its value. I like to think that this hourglass painting is a reminder that we need to stop and take stock sometimes.

Purchasing and Prints

The original Hourglass painting, Precious Time, is available in my shop and you can also get your mitts on prints, merchandise and downloads. Saatchi is your best bet for luxury canvas and framed prints, whereas Redbubble absolutely nail merchandise like clothing, stationery and home decor, as well as more budget prints and greetings cards. You can also download hi-res, print ready versions of this piece from the shop and make your own prints in as many formats as you like.

The original painting is available on the website.

It’s also available in all kinds of printing formats and across all clothing and home decor products on Redbubble.

Luxury framed or canvas prints are available from Saatchi.