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The Maiden Light Collection

By Emma Henke

I already had a collection of sunrise paintings in my head back in the summer– it is such a powerful symbol of new beginnings and it felt so appropriate for me, launching myself into my brand new world when I left my day job to paint full time. I too had dared to dream, had worked really hard, had decided to do something out of the ordinary…

The Maiden Light collection has turned into a collective project with many contributors – including Tracy Edwards herself.

I had a brainwave though in early September – if I could pour my own light and courage and faith into these paintings, why not see if I could also weave the strength of other women into them as well? Sailors are among the bravest of all people (alongside mountain climbers, healthcare workers, pilots, steeplejacks, rig divers…) – full of blind faith and respect for Mother Nature. 

Going to sea is an act of faith and courage, every time. You trust that the seas will be kind to you, particularly when you are crossing an ocean. You can choose whether or not to sail out into rough weather when you are still in port, but when land is more than 1000 miles in any direction, you have to hope that your boat will be able to withstand whatever Mother Nature and Poseidon choose to throw at it. Sometimes, it’s a lot. It’s like Life. And sometimes it is horrible, especially in the dark.

Each of my paintings has captured the fresh hope of a new day after a challenging period of darkness. They are literally – as well as metaphorically – bringing the sunshine. Each one is a talisman for a new beginning.

I’ve held on tight through some really tough night passages, where the waves seemed to grow ever bigger and the wind howled through the rigging. In the dark, when all you can see is the spray lit by your navigation lights and the occasional wall of water crashing over the deck, and your ears are full of whistling and clanging and creaking, you pray to gods previously unrecognized for your safe passage. So far, those prayers have all been answered. And often, the answer seems to come in the form of the sun beginning to rise – a soft dawn light threading into the darkness, proving to you that you are still afloat, still alive, still moving. 

I reached out to my fellow female sailors and they answered me with their tales and their beautiful images of sunrises. The Maiden Light collection has turned into a collective project with many contributors – including Tracy Edwards herself. I feel very blessed. Each of my paintings has captured the fresh hope of a new day after a challenging period of darkness. They are literally – as well as metaphorically – bringing the sunshine. Each one is a talisman for a new beginning.

I can’t wait to share this all with you.

On Thursday 19th November 2020, I launch this collection of paintings. Some are very small, some are a little larger. Most are in oil but there are some small watercolours too. They are all a good size to fit on the walls of wherever you live, however big your dwelling is. 75% of the sale price of each painting will go directly to the Maiden Factor. I am donating all my time to this project to support this charity and just covering my costs. I am supporting a team of women, sailing an iconic boat (Maiden herself) around the world again, bringing education and a message of hope and possibility to young women and children everywhere. The magic of Maiden sails on. Tracy wrote to me that Maiden (the boat) has that effect on people, but I don’t think it is the boat– I think it is the message that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, but first of all, you have to dream that it is possible.

I really hope that you will help me to support this amazing charity. Even if you do not wish to purchase a painting yourself, you could please help me by forwarding the details of this collection to people you know who might. Every little tiny effort will make a difference. 

With faith, with honour, and with courage, anything is possible…

Discover the collection on Emma’s website here: https://www.emmahenkestudio.com/maiden-light

Emma Henke was born in Poole, UK and raised in Kent. She has a joint honours degree from Magdalen College, Oxford University. She always wanted to be a full-time artist and a sailor. She crossed the Atlantic for the first time in 2014, aged 40 and finally, in the midst of a pandemic in 2020, quit her land-based life to achieve her other goal.

She has always painted and sold her work since the age of 14 but in the meantime has also had several other careers, including strategy consultancy, head-hunting, 7 years running her own art and design company at the turn of the century and then latterly running a residential rehabilitation unit for people with alcohol-related brain damage for the previous 14 years. 

With 2 Atlantic crossings and 1 Pacific crossing under her belt, she now lives on board a beautiful 1971 S&S Swan 55 with her German husband and a lot of paints, in Amsterdam. She speaks French and German fluently (and a smattering of other languages too), loves taking photos and writing, swears like a pirate and looks forward to one day having a garden by the sea and a puppy.

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