Saturday, 26 February 2011

Under the Ivy

I remember my teens as a time of almost painful awareness. Sad theme tunes to crap tv shows, poetry, birdsong, even statues could provoke an intensity of feeling that is both wonderful and destructive.
You just can't feel like that on a long term basis.
Just to make things worse, I had very little in the way of skills to translate all that passion into anything worthy.
King of the world, bottom of the ladder.
But I did have a little flair, and a lot of desire.
I also had some very undesirable flares...
Fast forward several ice ages and I've learnt my craft.
Working late in the studio I heard a song that summed up all that adolescent purity of feeling in a way that made me realise how much I wished I could go back there.
(Kate Bush, Under the Ivy - listen to it on your own, with no grown ups around)
To have that sincerity, and the skills to represent it would be amazing.
So, with the finished painting already in my head, it was off to the Goth clubs again.
To their endless credit, not one person has reacted with suspicion or concern on these occasions, even when a total stranger invades their space and asks them to 'model for a painting' - it's like restraining orders had never been invented.
So, once again, thank you to Becky for being a perfect subject and making it possible for me to open a door to a past version of myself.
For those who like Victorian symbolism, there's no point in pretending to be mysterious:
The rose is for purity, the snake is sin, the Large Blue butterfly is about impermanence and ivy has always had associations with constancy.
The rusted lamp is an old favourite, and can be found in Holman Hunt's 'Light of the World'.
In fact, I hadn't realised how much I had been influenced by it until I'd finished this painting.

Incidentally, I built the image around the principles of the Golden Ratio, which is supposed to be the ideal proportion for the human eye to accept (much used by ancient Greeks and the like, so who am I to argue).
Somehow, it just seemed right:
The whole painting took exactly 40 hours, over the fortnight after Christmas, and it really did feel like it painted itself - I just waved a hairy stick at it and watched it emerge.
This does not happen very often...
Oh, and Becky...?  - loved painting the boot!.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god - I love it!
    Look forward to seeing you and Mands again soon mate
    Tim :)