Art, Article, Discussion, Joy C Martindale, Mental Health, New Work, painting

Happy International Day of Happiness to Everyone

Slightly Happier (Dec 2020), gouache and acrylic on paper, by Joy C Martindale, 41 x 31cm

When was the last time you felt happy?

My children have just discovered The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and I felt happy when I laughed myself into hysterics at a funny scene. Does that count?

I felt happy yesterday when I was on a train reading a magazine. I was reading that visitors to the artist Lala Rukh’s house were greeted by ‘two unmistakable seasonal smells: in winter, log-fire smoke and in summer, jasmine and lime wafting in from the garden.’* One sentence was enough to transport me there. The feeling of happiness that came with it was strong but momentary, does that count? In this strange and unsettling time, which has impacted on every aspect of our lives, I think it has to.

I think it is possible to equate positive emotional experiences – those little, everyday mood boosting moments that bring us joy – to happiness. Before the pandemic, perhaps happiness was something that shined with promise on the horizon; a state of being that could be obtained if we worked hard enough for it, but now when the future has become an unknown quantity and our focus has been pulled up short, it is our day-to-day experiences that we feel most acutely attuned to. With this has come a greater awareness of our moods and the fleetingness of them. Think of all the moods you can be in all in one day – an anxious mood, a sad mood, an angry mood, a calm mood, a dreamy mood and so on. Something positive that can come out of this imposed day-to-day existence could be the realisation that if we can let go of the pursuit of happiness as a panacea, we may become more open to acknowledging those nuggets of happiness we are already experiencing in our everyday lives.

So, even when we might feel sad, lonely, anxious or unhappy as we have probably all felt at some point during the pandemic, it is possible to experience happiness as part of these emotional experiences too.

More reading: Dr Daisy Fancourt and Research Fellow Alex Bradbury (UCL Epidemiology & Health) have tracked the everyday experiences of 70,000 people asking them each week how they are feeling.

*Quote taken from Lives of the Artists: Lala Rukh By Mariah Lookman. Tate Etc Issue 48, P108

Scott Mills ‘This is Scott Mills on R1. How much do you love this?’ (talking about Jerusalem (Remix) by Master KG) 

Chris Stark: ‘Oh mate, every time this comes on, I feel slightly happier. And that’s a good thing.”

Scott Mills: ‘That’s kind of important right now.’ (04/11/2020)

Art, Joy C Martindale, New Work, painting, Personal histories

Sing To Me (2021)

Sing To Me II (2021)
Sing To Me I (2021)

In my current practice I am exploring the act of making art as a liberating gesture. The title ‘Sing To Me‘ refers to the essential escapism music has provided me during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The various positive sensations of pleasure, calm, elation and catharsis listening to music gives me, as I paint and draw in my studio collide and combine with all the other sensations I am experiencing at that moment and are translated directly into my painting. From music – to my body and mind’s response – to the painting, to the viewer experiencing the work, is a chain of sensations. These chains of sensations connect us to each other and help us make sense of our realities, as Haruki Murakami explains so eloquently here:

“Because memory and sensations are so uncertain, so biased, we always rely on a certain reality-call it an alternate reality-to prove the reality of events. To what extent facts we recognize as such really are as they seem, and to what extent these are facts merely because we label them as such, is an impossible distinction to draw. Therefore, in order to pin down reality as reality, we need another reality to relativize the first. Yet that other reality requires a third reality to serve as its grounding. An endless chain is created within our consciousness, and it is the very maintenance of this chain that produces the sensation that we are actually here, that we ourselves exist.”Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

Discussion, Joy C Martindale, New Work, Personal histories

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to everyone!

Untitled (November 2020) by Joy C Martindale, acrylic and gouache on paper, 38x27cm

Growing up I was conditioned to think that the only role models worth looking up to were male. It wasn’t until my early thirties, when I had a baby and was trying to figure out how it might be possible to be both a mother and build a career as an artist, that I really began to seriously question this way of thinking. All my treasured novels were written by men and my favourite art books were about men. I was shocked to see how deeply I had absorbed this message. I began to consciously seek out female role models who had strived to follow their ambitions no matter what obstacles came their way. 

One brilliant artist whose story has guided me as an artist since I became a mother is Rose Wylie. At Folkestone and Dover College of Art, Rose Wylie was told women couldn’t become great artists: “[Being an artist] was considered a stupid idea, women were just there for a bit of culture, like a finishing school, something to do until they got married. All the teachers were men, there were no women.”* 

Rose Wylie married a fellow artist, Roy Oxlade, when she was 21 and the first of their three children came a year later: “We decided it was not a good idea for two parents to paint, because painting is very isolating and you do tend to focus on yourself and children then become an irritation. I don’t think it works, and I think the bringing up of children is hugely important. So, I brought up the children and I think that was a good idea.”* She started painting again after about 20 years and today has earned international recognition for her work and is a hugely celebrated British artist. 

I like the way Rose Wylie takes ownership of her decision to wait until her children had grown up to return to painting. I believe that women should be able to choose for themselves how they want to approach balancing career aspirations with earning a living and bringing up children.

Whatever we decide to do it isn’t easy and I am still trying to work many things out. Finding positive role models to take inspiration from can help us navigate through challenges and hard times, such as the Covid-19 pandemic when the lockdowns have added insecurity and upheaval to our lives and it has been difficult or impossible to live, work, think and act in the ways that we are used to.

Quotes taken from an interview with Rose Wylie for the Guardian by Emine Saner:

Art, Community, Event, exhibition, fabric, Joy C Martindale, New Work




Exhibition Announcement! Visit Walmer Castle in Kent to see my show Trailblazers.

Trailblazers is a new participatory artwork – the exciting outcome of my project working with young people who are supported by Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN).


29th February – 19th April 2020

Walmer Castle

Kingsdown Road, Walmer, Deal, Kent, CT14 7LJ

This project has been funded by a National Lottery Arts Council Project grant and National Lottery Heritage Funding, and forms part of English Heritage’s Re-Discovering Walmer’s Lost Pleasure Grounds project.














Art, Event, exhibition, Joy C Martindale

SAVAGE 2020 Exhibition

Family (2017-19) by Joy C Martindale

I’m showing new work in the Savage 2020 exhibition. PV 21st January at St Pancras Crypt, 165 Euston Road, Bloomsbury, NW1 2BA 6-9pm.

🌟 ‘Showcasing 20 fantastic UCL artists, there’ll be performance, video screenings, installation, live music and a subsidised bar. Don’t miss it.’ Savage Journal🌟

Art, Award, charity, Community, Joy C Martindale

Funding Award Announcement

🌿I am delighted to announce I have been awarded National Lottery Arts Council Project Funding to run a new participatory community art project at Walmer Castle. This project is also supported by National Lottery Heritage funding and forms part of English Heritage’s wonderful Re-discovering Walmer’s Lost Pleasure Grounds Project.

Over the course of 6 workshops I will be working with young people supported by Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN). The first workshop is on Thursday and I can’t wait to meet the participants.

More details coming soon!🌿

Art, exhibition, Joy C Martindale, Textiles

Platforma 5

Lilacs In Bloom is on display in the Jarman Building  at the University of Kent until 28th October as part of Platforma 5 festival.

Drop in to see it if you can!

🌿 Platforma is a biennial festival showcasing local and national work about displacement and migration. 🌿

🌿 Visit for more information. 🌿

Work on display: Lilacs In Bloom (2019) by Joy C Martindale.

Lilacs In Bloom is a participatory artwork made in collaboration with survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.  Working with paint and scraps of colourful cloth collected along the tidelines of the coast in Southeast Kent, we explored creativity as a means of being free in the moment to choose how to express thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Art, Award, charity, Community, contemporary use of textiles, exhibition, fabric, Joy C Martindale, Personal histories, Textiles, Workshop

Success for Anti-Slavery Art Project, ‘Lilacs in Bloom’


Lilacs In Bloom by Joy C Martindale  (2019) Detail showing a sectioned created by a participant in the project.

Migrant Help have positively reviewed my recent Arts Council England funded project:

 “Migrant Help had been looking to re-introduce artistic activities for our clients and Joy’s sessions were nothing short of excellent. We noticed a big difference in terms of confidence and artistic expression from our clients during these workshops. Joy brought such enthusiasm and dedication to the workshops. Migrant Help attended the launch of the exhibition in Dover and it was fantastic to see the artwork displayed and to hear the conversations it brought about.” 

Follow this link to read Migrant Help’s blog post on the project that led to the creation of Lilacs In Bloom (2019).

Art, Award, charity, Community, contemporary use of textiles, exhibition, fabric, Joy C Martindale, Personal histories, Textiles, Workshop

Lilacs In Bloom Launch Party

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joy work on wall

Lilacs In Bloom (2019) by Joy C Martindale

We had an incredible launch party for Lilacs In Bloom. A massive thank you to everyone who joined us and special thanks to Syrian chef Isam Moussa Agha @zzekzek for creating such a delicious Syrian feast. And to Roma musician, Ferco Kovac, thank you for providing a lovely soundtrack to the evening.

LILACS IN BLOOM is an exhibition of a new artwork made in collaboration with survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking who are supported by the charity Migrant Help. The last chance to see the exhibition will be on Saturday 23rd February (1-4pm).

LILACS IN BLOOM is funded by a National Lottery Arts Council England grant and a Dover Town Council grant.

Photos credit: @dannyburrowsphoto

Click here to find out more about the project.

Follow the story on Instagram: @joycmartindale


Migrant Help: Migrant Help is a UK charity, which provides support and guidance to vulnerable migrants and assists victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery on their path to recovery. It also helps asylum seekers and refugees navigate the complex asylum process.