A very quick acrylic sketch of our wonderful daughter, which hardly does her justice. I seldom paint the family now, but they appear as symbols and as characters in imagined paintings. If you look across my body of work, they are everywhere, but in disguise; symbols of wonder, love, belonging. When I paint them directly from observation, I prefer to keep those works for us as special objects that cannot really be replaced or considered as anything but precious. Everything that is good in me, I have learned by association with my wonderful family and in helping to bring our children up, I found myself being brought up to speed emotionally. So, this little painting is a unique object in this exhibition. Truly.
A woman sitting near a stained-glass window in the Greek church looked as if she was part of a design depicting an agrarian scene. When I was a young boy, the church was full of harsh judgemental saints scowling at us from the walls and icons. The occasional warm glance from a kind woman was such a reprieve from that. Also, as I grew up into adolescence, it was a place where one occasionally met and spoke to a young woman. The times were different, and, in those days, it was rare to speak to girls outside of school or one's family. I do remember with fondness the feelings of affection I felt for a young woman that I knew, whose presence in the church filled me with strong emotions of warmth and hope. It was an innocent love from afar, a kind of affection that I treasure to this day.
I imagined my father as a teenager, growing up in the city of his birth. As it was, he had to leave because of war when he was a child, so this is an imagined parallel reality. The thing with art is that we can redress any wrong, create anything and make life appear as we feel it should. I sometimes think that it is the only freedom we have, to create and depart from reality as it exists. I recall listening to Tolkien describing this pattern of creating and making; he summarised that it was because we ourselves were 'created' that we carried on the example of our 'creator'. Whether one is religious or not, there is an inescapable fact in the argument that creating something is a deep need. In my case, it is part of my being and a wonderful part of my life.