One of a series of paintings depicting the cycle of the seasons. A re-working of the Sleeping Beauty theme: a frozen psyche.


This segment of the Seasons cycle was inspired by the traditional fairy story, ‘Sleeping beauty’. Early sketches centred on the girl – quieted in her flowering – arrested…a ‘vegetable love’ growing to engulf, subsume, all but penetrate her. I was in thrall to Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero with a thousand faces’ and his interpretation of Sleeping beauty as symbolic of a wllfully suppressed development of the psyche , a denial of puberty and the unknowns of adulthood.

The patina of the nude was an attempt to describe this state of mental stasis.

The narrative suggested is that the girl, like ‘Sleeping beauty,’ and also of course, like the natural world as winter sets in, has ‘frozen in time’. This has occurred at the turn of the calendar (as symbolized by the zodiacal signs on the circular parapet) and, one must imagine, instantly, just as she was approaching the ‘fish’ to commune with it in some sense. Sketches show a live fish beneath the ice but the statue works better compositionally and also aids the dramatic perspective.My ‘fish’ inspirations include; ‘The Golden Fish’ fairy tale which I used to tell to my children about a talking, wish-granting and ultimately self-serving fish. Also and more significant in my personal development, the huge ice-bound fish from the ‘Singing Ringing tree’, an eastern european tv programme from the 1960s.

The girl’s pose is a captivating one from my model Edwina, who appears in several of my paintings. I have been saving this study for 17 years and she was earmarked for the ‘Summer’ segment, amongst flowers and languorous warmth, but is now frozen in another season.

The design of the pond and steps is suggestive of a womb and the girl’s headlong fall there is an echo of her crisis of development and unconscious wish to return. As she shunned the path of Galatea’s animation, she fell and struck the ice of the pond at the very instant it formed in her soul…so that her arm caused the sheet ice to cave slightly, bringing a puddle above it to reflect an unseen cold dusk orange from the winter sky. But this and the slight natural glow left around the girl’s ear is to suggest that life dwells within, deeply secreted but retrievable.

Height: 47"
Width: 38"
Medium: Oil On Canvas
Year: 2001
SKU: JB-WINTER Category: