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Taking a Dip with Lucille Dweck

December 13, 2010 / 1 Comment


When: Thursday, December 16th 6:30-9 pm, and on for the rest of December

Where: The Gallery

Pall Mall Deposit

124-128  Barlby Road

London W10 6BL

I have known how fabulous Lucille Dweck is for a long time. Not only is she my closest friend (and my former fit model), but she also continues to delight me with her painting career. Recently she took the time to sketch out her fascinating background for my blog readers and to give some insight into her work. Now you’ll know how fabulous she is too!

Many of her latest paintings centre around water. My favourite is this one of a man suspended in dark waters with air bubbles escaping to the surface.

Lucille says,

The underwater paintings delve into our inner worlds, our feeling worlds as first encountered in the womb, surrounded in the dark, warm, watery environment which dissolves any self consciousness.

Under the water is about feeling, our emotional side, the place where we find our intuitive mind– the right side of our brains. As I delve deeper, I want to explore more subtle states. I have a regular meditation practice, and in these paintings I look at the dropping feel of moving into the deeper states of relaxation.  Also the feel as I come out of the meditation refreshed.

Some paintings show swimmers that bathe, or come up from underwater points to the gaze of the objective mind, the outer world.

In the cool light of day, the logical mind – the left side of our brains– looks at the world with a satisfaction that comes from a vision that makes sense. The surface of the water reflects the highs of the sky; at the same time, the deeper blues suggests the mysterious depths of the water. Both inner and outer worlds are seen. Sink or swim? This represents the balance of the meditative world and the everyday world. It also represents the duality of the inner world/ underwater and the outer world/ above the water.

Those moments where we are completely absorbed in our activity are depicted by the swimmer merging with the water, imitating the rhythms and the flow of the water and the sea weeds that live within. Here form is lost as the subject becomes one with the water.

Some paintings show a witness that watches the sea. These speak of the inner observer, the detached viewer that looks on equanimously. They point to the still place within us. In contrast to the peaceful gaze of the viewer is the crashing turmoil of the sea, the high and lows, the dramas that we interpret our life’s journeys to be.

In the forseeable future, I will continue to pursue my interest in underwater paintings. I want to be less obviously figurative. I want to take more risks with form. I want the colours to be even richer.

I have experimented with making sound that goes with the images to help create the place I’m after. I also had a very strong idea of making a few installations to go with some of the paintings, where you are completely surrounded by the deepest blue, the sounds are playing and film imagery of the underwater swimmer is showing in a loop.


I am 47 years old. I was brought up in London in a Jewish family. My family lived previously in Alexandria in Egypt. Both my parents and my 2 older brothers were born in Egypt. They left in 1955 at the time of the Suez Canal affair. After my father had secured himself a British passport, he came to London with his bothers and sisters and father. They spoke French and very little English and were taken in to small rooms in North London given to refugees.

My father was a business man and lived by his quick wit. When my parents were thrown out of Egypt, they had not been able to take any of the wealth they had created with them. In fact, my mother even had to surrender her engagement ring at the airport. In England, my father set to work trying to start a business importing potatoes from Egypt to the UK. He had left money with contacts in Egypt whom he entrusted to buy a ship load of potatoes. But when the potatoes finally arrived in England, they were all rotten.

Even with these enormous setbacks, my father managed to make money and I was brought up in a big house in Hampstead. My whole family was involved in the potato business, but I couldn’t have been less interested. So as my family talked of potatoes in French, I was in my own world, desperate to find a platform to express my thoughts and feelings.

I taught myself to draw by copying drawings in the teen magazines I read. I was obsessed with ideas of love and relationship. Painting and drawing gave me the opportunity to express thoughts that were beyond words. That is what I was after.

After finishing school, I went to Art School St Martins followed by Byam Shaw School of Art, where I was awarded a scholarship place. I spent my time at college working from the life model. I find it endlessly fascinating trying to put down on canvas /paper the experience of looking at another– to capture the essence beyond the form. My main artistic influences at the time were Matisse and Titian.

After graduating I started teaching life drawing at Byam Shaw and other art colleges and became Artist in Residence for the London Hospital. I also worked as a muralist. I painted large community murals for West Middlesex Hospital, Central Foundation Boys School, several shop fronts, two Mayfair nightclubs, a Bond Street restaurant and private homes. I gilded interiors, including the Sultan of Brunai’s London residence and restored a Buddah pagoda in Battersea Park. But this decorative work was taking me away from what I really wanted to express.

I got married in1992, and later that year my son was born. My paintings at this time reflected my pregnancy and early family life. The paintings were a kind of garden of harmony, made up of characters close to the surface of the painting, decorated with flowers and fish. I often used a yellow background, expressing a very positive, happy time. The series of paintings that preceded these were about relationships. The figures would be close to life scale and would contort and intertwine in their struggle with relationship. Again the figures would be close to the surface. Titian was still a huge influence for me and the classical paintings of the Renaissance. They had a kind of epic feel.

Soon after my son’s birth, I got more involved with yoga. I was not only interested in the yoga asana from a point of view of health, but was fascinated in the yoga philosophy. I started a meditation practice, took part in kirtan chanting and studied Raja yoga. The yoga was pointing to the same place I wanted my paintings to be about: a place of love beyond time and space and words, beyond all dualities.

My yoga practice gave a kind of structure to the state I was always striving to represent in my paintings. I became a yoga teacher and got heavily involved with running the Innergy yoga centre. My painting slowed down as I was teaching most days and had quite a following. So I eventually stopped teaching yoga and started painting full tilt.

The current paintings have been made since this time. Water had featured in a lot of my earlier works, but it has become the main theme of my paintings. I was blown away by the Rothko exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2008. Rothko’s paintings create that place that I am on about: the deep, meditative place of love. So with my water paintings, I aim to take you to that same place.

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