An Unseen Force

“It was in 1919 when I first started my work. I then had an inspiration to take up my pen and do all kinds of works of an artistic type. I felt that I had an artistic faculty seeking expression. It took various forms. First of all, knitting – even without any pattern. Then came a flow of all kinds of inspirational writing, mostly Biblical. Then I felt impelled to execute drawings on a large scale on calico. I simply couldn’t leave it and I did on average 20 pictures a week, all in colour. All the time I was in quite a normal state of mind and there was no suggestion of a ‘spirit’ standing beside me. I simply felt inspired. Sometimes I would be dissatisfied with the work and tear it up or burn it. But I felt I was definitely guided by an unseen force, though I could not say what its actual nature was. “ 

Madge Gill–Extract from an interview in Prediction Magazine, 1937.
Watercolored by Carla Wilson, 2021
Carla Wilson – 2021

Those of you who know me from my writing may know that my first book, Impossible Conversations included a chapter that was dedicated to the Outsider Artist Madge Gill. In the book, the author conducts an imaginary interview with Madge wherein the artist explains how she felt compelled to create by an unseen force or a spirit guide called “Myrninerest” (or ‘my inner rest’). I’ve been thinking about Madge lately as I’ve felt suddenly compelled to create paintings that seem to come from nowhere, as if a spirit guide is leading the way. Whether it’s too much coffee, or the extra time at home due to the pandemic stay-at-home-order, I’m glad to be coming up with fresh ideas this week.

Published by c m wilson

art + writing

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