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All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare Monologue from ‘As You Like It’

As a Drama teacher and lover of Shakespearian plays using this part of one of the bards monologues as inspiration for a series of portraits seemed an ideal fit. In 2015 I started painting a series of ‘metaphorical self-portraits’ using animal references to portray traits of my character and showing me playing some of my roles or stages of my life thus far.

1. Toddler – The naughty little monkey stage

Toddler Stage

2. Teenager – Thinking you know everything stage

Thinking you know everything stage

3. Experimenter – Try anything years stage, older but not yet particularly wiser


4. Explorer – The working to enable travel years


5. Mother – The Don’t mess with my child stage

Motherhood changes everything

The feeling that you would do anything to protect your own materialises at this stage! Who could portray this better than a Grizzlie bear, especially as migration to Canada had now ensued.

6. Scottish Years – working in the Highlands of Scotland

Scottish Years

Now in Shakespeares’ world there are only seven stages. However, having so much fun with my series of paintings stopping with only one more which would  supposedly be depicting my end, I could not do. So I have quietly whispered apologies to Will and continued with gusto – as is my way. With my seventh self-portrait depicting a mischievous adult who could not stop giggling (red wine may have been involved!)

7. Adulthood

An adult giggling continuously
12″ x 12″

I trained as a teacher of Art, Dance and Drama and taught for many years in different schools. My final self-portrait (for now) depicts me as a teacher played by an ostrich. Not because I resemble an ostrich any more than I did a monkey or a bear. But, because this look sums up one certain students of mine may have received.

8. Teacher – When someone thinks they know better than you stage

When someone thinks they know better than you

Expressive, vibrant in colour as are all of my art works, as am I. What animal would you be? Do you have certain tendencies or traits that could be summed up by an animal. I am holding onto a sloth for another one of me – just lounging around. I do commissions and ship anywhere in the world.  The majority of the above works have sold. But, prints can be found at The Fine Art America website of the above characters.

Karin McCombe Jones

Karin McCombe Jones

Artist Sculptor Arts Educationalist
Born in Wales, lived in Canada before migrating to New Zealand
I have spent my life being involved in and promoting the importance of the Arts.
In 2012 I gave up full time teaching to go back and study Art. I am now a full time artist and workshop presenter. I love colour and movement, working expressively.
Karin McCombe Jones

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4 thoughts on “ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

  1. Louise Vallack

    I love the idea of life’s stages – and how you have assigned animal characters to them! Looking forward to finding out what your next metamorphosis will be!

  2. Clive Holgate

    Very good vibrant and interesting just like you

  3. Great post! I love your images, each one is so expressive lol

    Red wine… Or any wine really, should always be in there somewhere 😉

    1. Thanks Isabella. Yup to the wine. But, for me it has to be a red and I must say NZ ones are pretty good!!

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