Rosalind Ann Hodges was born 1968 in the rural village of Chipping Ongar, Essex. Her loving childhood was spent with weekends on the banks of the river Blackwater. Freely walking and day dreaming, along the shore line. While her parents sailed the tidal waters, she saw natures visual poetry revealed across those endless stone and clay mud shores.
From 1989, London became the foundations for life and study. The fashion world, working with an award winning designer became the first creative outlet. Then designing and illustrating bespoke stationery, drew the threads closer to painting.
1999, Bequeathed art materials by her father and an introduction to the artist Emily Ball as tutor, later friend & colleague, was the point when painting became an essential part of life and abstract art, started to develop as a natural way to convey her internal dialogue of the landscape.
Since 2003, The Cape St Vincent natural park, SW Algarve, Portugal, became known as "home". Beach life with her two children, meditation, yoga, healing, and yurt living became the norm. Life shifted, perspectives and values change, finding a richer "abundance in nothing", awakened a deeper hunger for truth authenticity and a deeper connection and commitment to her artwork.
2018 England called for a deeper connection, bringing a new context to life, the busy roads and sallow faces of grey skies, took and immense time to integrate and find beauty within. She solemnly trod the Slad valley in mud clad boots in rain or shine, frost or snow. Knowing that it would eventually yield the connection with the leaf mulch and foot paths and muted misty mornings. The reality is that, she now sees its beauty, but the ocean still calls her home and each return trip, becomes more intense from her absence.
2020 The Pandemic and lockdown anchored her in the Stroud valleys. The need to find a place to expand into was imperative. The idea to camp in the woods of the Farm was the perfect solution, the warm dry night of the Spring days enabled her to work every day. Building work on work, repeating and developing process without interruption from the outside world, was a medicine and creative font of abundance. The opportunity was uniquely poised for all her work over the past 20 years to be at her finger tips and meld.....and the Night Painter emerged.
"The fragrant night emanates into the
inky darkness. The fire
burns wood to charcoal.The
embers music artist and nature meld"
See events for details of the candle lit preview of the SVA open studio 17th Sept 9 -10.30pm
Her persistence and discipline in this time, helped find the key to listening to the nuances of this etheric language and decoding them. Transforming the weeks of process into works of art. Working in the deep immersion of nature allowed the potency of twilight to night, to help find a process that was greater than the just the physicality of the artwork its self. The moment of realisation of the enormity of the beauty in the process it self, changed her work through figurative abstraction to immersion in a very profound way.
Dr Laura monks Phd (MBACP arrred) review of Forrest art 24hr experience
From Dr Laura Monls Blog Making art in the forest by night 2020. Laura monks is a core psychotherapy training is in the person-centred approach (PCA), which sits in the humanistic paradigm of talking therapies. Now she is combing that with working in Nature (loving trees!) and Layla Martins body work.
Dendrophile: someone who loves trees and forests.
I feel so blessed at my recent forest adventure with my gorgeous artist friend, Ros, who allowed me to experience such wonder in the great woodland of Laurie Lee fame in Stroud. To say I am a dendrophile is an understatement: I need trees in my life and crave communion with them. I enjoy regular woodland walks, conversing with trees both collectively and with individual favourites and, of course, having great big hugs. Having always been a tree-hugger and massive advocate of getting into nature for improved mental and emotional wellbeing, I am delighted that science is now showing us that being in contact with living trees recharges us whilst freeing us of negative thoughts and easing our tensions and anxieties. Matthew Silverstone’s book, Blinded by Science is a good read on such scientific studies into the benefits of tree-hugging: practised since the time of the Druids.
Just before lockdown, an opportunity arose for all this and more as Ros invited me to camp overnight in a forest where we would meditate, dance around a fire and make art by nightfall. How could I refuse? I said yes right away (mainly because there were trees involved) and what a good decision that was. It was sublime.
Ros is a wonderful art teacher - whose beautiful invitation to make art gave me the strength and wisdom to move forward in my life in an unexpected direction. I met Ros on the Shakti Tantra Women’s Program: an impressive group of women who induct their Shakti sisters into the art of Tantra and, generally have a lot of yummy fun together as well as seriously powerful ancient healing practices to awaken the sexual self and reconnect to the Divine Feminine. I can’t give too much away about the Program – aka Women’s Mystery School - as its practices are purposely kept secret for good reason; this is potent stuff and needs close guarding. I can reveal that we dance a lot; although I would never reveal just how we do that…
When I joined the Program and first danced with the Shaktis, I was pretty nervous and, consequently, did not find the experience wholly enjoyable. Coming to my rescue, it was Ros who helped me with this in a way that was truly life-changing. Ros explained that when teaching art, she helps students disabuse themselves of any notion that they should try to reproduce particular images as a likeness but instead use art as a form of expression. My apologies to any art and movement teachers here as I describe this process as I lack the necessary knowledge and terms (sorry if you are wincing).
Anyway, relating her art teaching theory to dance, Ros helped me to forget any notion of trying to look like anything in my mind’s eye and, instead, allow the music take hold of my body and let it respond through free expression in each moment. Following this conversation, dancing became a whole new experience for me as I waited and allowed the music to reverberate in my body, which responded with its own life force energy - unencumbered by my inhibitions and freed from the shackles of my mind. It was utterly enjoyable and revelatory!
So, into the forest Ros and I went – and this is how we danced: carefree and playfully - like wood nymphs, I imagined... we twirled around a fire that Ros skilfully built and where we offered our intentions up to the flames. It was very moving and meaningful. Then we allowed our movement to flow into painting onto a huge canvas – with only ink and water. Ros had guided me through this process beforehand, showing me her impressive range of brushes and how to add water to the ink for different effects. We had a canvas each and, once the fire was lit and the ritual started, the art was a very private process: unfettered by talking or communication of any kind. It was magical and mystical in the twilight surrounded by ancient trees towering around us protectively. For a time, I was lost in the alchemical process of creating artwork and I made a picture that seems to me to be unlike anything I could have tried to produce from my mind.
Wood Nymph Psyche
This painting fills me with emotion and pride; I can hardly believe that it is me who made it. How did it happen? I’m not really sure because it was hard to see clearly in the bosky glade and it was only when I crawled out of the tent at dawn that I was able to see in the morning light what I’d made. I was utterly surprised by what lay on the forest floor and kind of stunned that I had actually created art! I fell in love with it at first sight… I remain captivated by its beauty and I want to make more!
Nascent plans for future forest art expeditions with Ros are underway, and I am so excited to explore together the possibilities of where this magical process might take us. Isn’t life fascinating? I love the feelings that arise in me when I reflect on how one day a dear friend invited me into something that sounded a bit bonkers, but fun… And a couple of weeks later I am feeling a yearning to go back for more that is so strong, it feels like a drug. I feel as though in this one evening, I have had a glimpse into the psyche of artists throughout time who have felt so compelled to make art that nothing else matters. Life is an incredible adventure and more so when we say yes to more things: what are you saying yes to in your life?