Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Charlotte & Zaani.
When new Mummy Charlotte Bevan walked out of a maternity hospital just days after having baby Zaani on the coldest night of the year so far, I, like most of the country watching the news thought she would be found chilly and disorientated but safe on the streets of Bristol in no time.
But wearing just the hospital’s standard-issue slippers and without a coat, baby wrapped in a blanket, her chances were skinny, and my optimism turned to vivid fear for this young woman I’d never met, my concern for whom could not be explained beyond my repeating of the phrase ‘but she looks like…like people I know’. The image of her walking determinedly across the city, talking to her baby and headed only she knew where, was not shown anywhere on TV, but played vividly and endlessly over and over again in my mind. As her own Mummy and her partner reassured her on screen that they whatever had happened they only wanted to ‘go forward’, the contents of my mind grew darker.
In the end I knew with complete conviction I had to draw the pair of them, and I finished this spontaneous picture as the news broke of the terrible outcome up on the Avon Gorge. It is unlike me to be so gripped and distressed by a news story, but this urge to capture a moment in the life of a woman I’d never met went beyond reasoning and superseded any deadlines that day.