Avenda Burnell Walsh

Lockdown was an interesting time for me, I went big, meters of paper rolled over desk, wall and floor. The charcoal and inks came out and had their day. I had my eyes closed most of the time, feeling the paper, feeling life, listening to the sound of my breathing … and I drew breath. A change of direction for me, working alone and zooming fellow artists. But I do not forget my previous work, my mission, pondering if we been misled about what is beautiful? Bombarded by images of apparent perfection, we have for centuries missed the beauty of soul. My work has looked back over figurative representations to re-evaluate the place of women in societies that demanded beauty from them. These new portraits seek to free the sitters of Holbein, Vermeer and Klimt from the constraints of corsets. The corsets are off, and they are not going back on. We still face stilettos, long nails and perfect hair, all self inflicted corsetry in my eyes.

I work as an artist and an actor. Following a study of drama, film and art, both at Exeter University and the University of California (Santa Barbara) I now have the Teign Estuary outside my studio balcony and the salt air blowing across my face. I still struggle to find a toned down palette more suited to Devon. A member of the Maison des Artistes, I now paint and illustrate from my Devon studio … Atelier Avenda … overlooking the sea at Teignmouth. The first two Ateliers were galleries in France.


UNEARTHING DARTMOOR FIELD TRIP observations of a markmaker

Spectacular fairy ring of rabbit pooh and tender heather

Rusty heifers with mismatched horns, the young ones skittering and
scampering in playful uncertainty

Pale yellow slender grasses growing strangely brighter, glowing even, as
sun fades at the close of making marks

Gorse scratching, gouging, mark making our thighs

Hastily tucking trouser legs into socks for fear of ticks, spiders,
lizards and adders

The magic of fading sun and clouds on dark water pond, that stares back
at us as we stand and look, and stand and look, and then get bitten

Still scratching at imaginary ants in pants, must investigate that later

The path is there, we see it easily on the back track, the light now
faded, but the path still glowing sandy bright, laughing smug at us who
missed it hours before and scrabbled long through thick and thin, rough
and tougher, sticky and prickly, tender lichens pale and magic, heathers
new and shouting colour, embryonic spruce trees fledging their tiny

We saw it all

We saw and sought to make our marks

And marks escaped us, but we found one or two and caged them in our