Ghostly Giselle’s last scene before the curtains fall

About 4 years ago, I’d just been made redundant. A giant corporate machine had waltzed in, squished our little hive of innovation, made our work lives a nightmare, and then shut the whole office down. When the dust settled, I shook off the madness that was corporate systems, acronyms, and ridiculous reply-all email storms, and decided I needed some healthy creativity in my life. So I started art school.

The first month into my diploma, I checked my letterbox and found my first feedback from my distance mentor. It took me a long time to open that envelope! I was certain he was going to say my work sucked. (Of course he didn’t!) Four years on, I feel like I’m just getting into my stride along my art journey. Then somehow, last week I get a congratulatory email from The Learning Connexion saying I’ve finished my Diploma of Art and Creativity with Honours! (Cue happy dancing around my art studio). Where did the time go?!

So I guess it’s fitting this is the last installment of my Giselle series with Paige. If you’ve missed the previous posts, you can read them here.

My sketches of Giselle's story from the ballet
My sketches of Giselle’s story from the ballet

Suddenly the wilis hear distant bells. With the coming dawn, they have lost their power. Mist rolls into the glade as they fall back and melt away to their graves. Myrtha is the last to glide into the forest.

Albrecht is collapsed, exhausted, on the ground. Giselle longs to stay and help him but the dawn light is pulling her back to her grave. Reluctantly, she floats away from Albrecht.
Albrecht hauls himself to his feet, desperately trying to keep Giselle with him. Giselle knows she must leave. She farewells her love a final time and sinks back into the ground.

With her final act of love and forgiveness, she is free from the vengeful wilis. Her spirit will rest in peace.

This is Paige dancing Giselle #8

©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, <i>Rest in peace</i>. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm
©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, Rest in peace. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm

And that’s all folks! If you’d like any of the prints in this series on your own wall, they’re all for sale. Part of the proceeds goes to Paige to help fund her many pairs of pointe shoes. Email me ailene@oldmountainart.com if you’d like to order a print.

So what’s next?

Next for me is my first solo exhibition! It’s called “Of dreams and hopes and love” and will be at ArtsPost in Hamilton. (So excited!) I’ll be showing my current series, but I also have another project underway with Elena, my gorgeous belly dance teacher. We’re telling the story that inspired her to dance. Long ago, against the backdrop of the lavish Ottoman Empire, a Ruthenian slave girl captured the heart of a sultan. He named her Hürrem, “the cheerful one”, and wrote poems to her eyes. It’s going to be a beautiful love story. Stay tuned!

Keep on shining bright,

Ailene