It occurred to me the other day that I have been thinking about heaven a lot lately.
Don't worry; I'm not about to go all Natalie Portman and sprout wings and go all cray-cray at Mila Kunis. Nor, sadly, have I transformed into a statuesque blonde with the ability to intimidate loan-sharks a-la 'Angela'. I should also point out I remain staunchly agnostic about religious matters, and I am not questioning my mortality or seeking existential answers any more than usual. But still, there is this recurring fascination with a child-like interpretation of that fluffy place above us.
My notion of the Hereafter is probably more like a sort of metropolis-come-funfair. I like the idea of angels with less-than angelic behaviours (not unlike Neil Gaiman's character Islington in 'Neverwhere', though perhaps not quite so malicious). Mine would have vices aplenty, and you'd find them doing all sorts of unseemly things, like scoffing whole bratwursts behind the moon, or relieving themselves as their cloud passed over Tom Cruise, or using their friends' halo as a basketball hoop.
Very probably, Heaven would be a bit like London. It wouldn't just be angels that lived there, but all sorts of other characters too (though of course, I would love to see a Cockney chimney-sweep angel, that would be fabulous). There'd be bridges made out of rainbows, and mice on the moon, and cows mooching about in the Milky Way. Mary Poppins would be up there too, a pleasantly dotty old biddy with no teeth, carrying on about cough-syrup and her diabetes. Everything would be edible too: the clouds would taste of marshmallow, and each colour of the rainbow would taste of something different (the orange would be marmalade, and you'd think the red would taste of strawberry, but, FYI, it's chilli).
I always imagined my character the Cloud Princess lived in Heaven, or somewhere very like it; maybe a few thousand feet below in Cloud Land, or Fluffy Town, or Fairyflosstopolis. I had a lot of fun creating her character and, though I am long sold out of the small edition of 20 prints I made of her two years ago, I am still asked about her all the time. And so, I thought it was high-time to revist her.
As some of you might know if you follow my adventures on Facebook and Instagram, I am a relatively new slave to two Beaglier puppies, Sandro and Lily. At 5 months old they are quite the handful, and of course, I couldn't imagine what life would be like without them, and their sweet droopy faces. I have affectionately named these characters Princess Lily and Sandro Spottydog in honour of them, and I hope that I have conveyed just a little of the love and warmth between these two friends.
The Cloud Princess, as I imagine her, loves to bake all sorts of cakes, but macarons are her absolute favourite (and not, incidentally, mine too!). She and Sandro have nipped up the shops for a few foodie supplies, and now are waiting for the Starbus to take them back home to Cloud Park Corner. The sun is just about to set, and Princess Lily always cooks her best macarons by the light of the moon!
I learned so many new things creating this piece, and I am particularly pleased with the slightly eighties, acid-wash look of the light on the clouds. All the best characters came out of the eighties for me: Lady Lovelylocks, Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and these were just a few of the inspirations behind Princess Lily's look. As always too- piles and piles of hair. And why not? Heaven hath no need of hairspray!
Have a gorgeous day,