Philomena Harmsworth, New Seeds

New Seeds

I passed my Foundation Course at Camberwell College of Art, and took my degree at Wimbledon. I moved back to Dorset two autumns ago and have been exploring in my art what it means to me to come home at this stage in my life. It has been an extraordinary experience of looking at things I always took for granted with new eyes. The rich, bounding landscapes of this beautiful place always took my breath away. This time I gasp them like fresh air after more than a decade in London. The life there was exciting and full of concrete and lights; fun and tears. There weren’t many respites from facing things. Now I can meditate! Being back here in Dorset evokes both old and new emotions in me, and the planting theme is key.

My unerring mentor is the post impressionist Van Gogh: his earthy “sowers” influence some of the pieces in this show. His sower’s connection to the earth and the growing of wheat, symbolic of the life cycle, fit in with the journey I am on.

Van Gogh’s sowers are about basic survival: my fascination is the interaction of the planter to the soil. I’ve painted and clawed in pastels hands that dig in the earth like shovels, or become coloured by the soil; hands that prune, weed, clip, and move plants; hands that touch the flowers looking for dead bits to remove so the plant can utilise all it’s energy in forging new growth. The way we instigate growth and manipulate plants seems to be about understanding. Gardening is a delightful metaphor for life.

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