• Alexis Soul-Gray

Dyana, inspiring friends and light shining through cracks in doors!

The last few days I have felt more alive and closer to the self I think I had forgotten perhaps still existed. Being buried by grief and ptsd for the second half of my 20s and the immediate 10 years of monogamous domesticity and child rearing that followed. The relationship with my now husband settled the shattered woman in her late 20s to a certain extent and almost immediately after meeting him we had children...they gave me so much happiness of course, I told them they ‘fixed’ my broken heart.

I wasn’t fixed though..something positive has changed again...

I was talking to a friend yesterday and describing that somehow a door has been opened, a tiny crack of light was shining through and conversing with me. This year, despite it being 2020 and awful for us all, for me I have worked through some demons left firmly cemented in my subconscious, maybe they have gone..maybe not. This space that has opened shines a light on part of myself I haven’t spent time with for many years.

For the last 6 months I have been mentored by Dyana Gravina of The Procreate Project. This relationship started after Dyana became familiar with my work through engagement with The Mother Art Prize and a proposal I put forward for a commissioned piece of work. After interviewing me she asked whether I would work with her through mentoring and I accepted. We spoke at length on many subjects but the overwhelmingly positive affect she has had on me is that I am already the things I claim I am not, and If I tell myself I am not, her voice switches it and with practice I am able to have greater faith in everything I do.

‘You are already a great painter Alexis, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think so’

Thanks Dyana.. despite obviously still not entirely believing you I have learnt to hide it better and hold my head up higher.

Talking to Dyana made me realise many things.. how I seek validation from others… I won’t go on too much in this post about my mum (yawn, jeeeez get over it! that’s my negative dismissive voice again…at least I recognise it!) but perhaps learning to listen and trust my own instincts in part led to me feeling ready to collect her hair. An Instagram post by a painter I greatly admire for many reasons, who has shown me support for years, was the deciding factor that I was ready.

Thankyou both. And Thankyou Jane Wildgoose who housed her for so many years in The Memorial Library.

Maybe those tiny fine hairs held together with cotton have opened a door…my friend told me I just need to let the light in! The velvet box is now sat on a kitchen shelf by the salt and pepper, makes sense at the moment.

graphite on paper, automatic drawing made during my mentoring with Dyana.

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