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Our Autumn Bulletin features cover artwork created during lockdown by the incredible Sophie Herxheimer, 'Yellow Flowers Multiply at a Greater Speed Even than Viral Droplets'. Sophie's art continues our series of covers celebrating the work of poet-artists including Angela T Carr and Laboni Islam. It's vibrant exuberance reminds us all that nature, creativity and hope continue to thrive, even in the toughest of times. In this insightful blog, Sophie reveals the process behind the painting:

This is one of a series of large paintings/collages I made on paper during my recent residency in California. As lockdown began and my residency became more inward facing, my own fears for the future were knocked into nothingness by the bravado and exhilaration of spring. I was stunned by the light and the new flowers appearing every day on my solitary walks around the increasingly empty neighbourhood. In California, I found, winter lasts two weeks. Hence this selfie I took with an autumn leaf hanging from one ear and a magnolia petal on the other. They were picked off the ground on the same street, on the same day.

When I paint I never have a plan. I go into the studio with my brain empty and my courage wavering. Hence paper. It's a good match for spontaneity. I begin with small stabs at the process, and then once the images flood in, I can extend the painting by glueing on new patches of land. And layering. Sometimes a colour or brush runs rampant and wants to take over. It might be great that way or it might need pruning back to let other colours or marks show through, or find their own space in the picture.

I wanted to insist on the obliterating power of Nature to bend events to her own eternity. Her yellow flowers, each one of them a little sun, dazzled me with their incorrigible proliferation. I created these picture spaces where humans, challenged by insurmountable problems, are surrounded by Nature's ebullient certainty. She fights by throwing colour onto every dismal branch, with a No to austerity, and a Yes to audacity!

Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and poet. She’s held many residencies including for London International Festival of Theatre, Museum of Liverpool, and Transport for London. Her work has been shown at her local allotments, on a 48 metre hoarding along the sea front at Margate, as well as at Tate Modern and The National Portrait Gallery. Her poetry collection, Velkom to Inklandt (Short Books, 2017) was Poetry Book of the Month in the Observer and a Sunday Times Book of the year. Her latest book is 60 Lovers to Make and Do, (Henningham Family Press, 2019). In 2019 she was a Hawthornden fellow. In June she returned from an art residency in Berkeley, California. Next year her collage poem collection, Index, will be published as a pack of cards by Zimzalla. 
If you're not a member then join the PBS today to get a free copy of the beautiful Autumn Bulletin and a £10 welcome book voucher! 
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