Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I have a few friends who are great photographers, and this is taken from a photo by my friend Pat Barry, who is an old school photographer, in that he does not use computer technology to develop his film and make his prints. With the cigarette almost out of the picture Cigarette Smoking Man was the natural title. One for the fans of the X-files.
Aside from the old monastic site that includes the leaning tower and the little church perched on the riverbank, Pisa has very little to recommend it. It's a tourist trap, pure and simple. Yes, they have a regatta every year, and while that would be fun to see, it wouldn't mean you'd want to spend longer in Pisa than necessary. We did a day trip to Pisa by local train from Florence, and it took about 2 hours each way.
It was a very hot day, and people who didn't want to pay the extortionate prices to go into the various monuments clustered in the shade of the buildings. It was kind of funny watching them move slowly in a semi-circle with the shadow of the tower. I spent the hottest 2 hours in the museum that's right beside the leaning tower, literally under the bit that's leaning - so if the tower ever does keel over, the museum is toast.
10 years later, looking at this blog post, and with the benefit of distance: Since painting this piece, I have lost two very close and dear friends, and so have a little more insight into what was going through the bereaved mother's mind at the time, and also what the dying boy might have been experiencing.
The first of my friends to die, a woman close to me in age, passed very suddenly due to complications from epilepsy, having hidden her worsening condition from her family. Her passing was not unexpected, nevertheless it was devastating to all who knew her - but as she was someone who fought hard to be independent in all ways, I was in a way happy for her, finally free of the body that was giving her so much grief. I like to think that she has travelled the Solar System, seen all of the known world, and visited a few places we have yet to find. I also like to think she comes back to visit me - on the day after she died, there was a brief but very squally storm by my house, followed by the most glorious double rainbow, which I like to think was her goodbye to me. So every time I see a rainbow now, it's like she's come by for a chat.
The second of my close friends to pass was a beautiful, gentle, wise, creative man who wished nothing more than to make people feel beautiful and happy. He was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive and inoperable cancer and died a few weeks later. I like to think that for him, heaven is his sitting room in his own lovely home, with a fit and healthy body, and an inexhaustible supply of delicious things, especially chocolate eclairs, and that he is watching those he loves on his television to make sure we are okay.
Even though these two friends never met, I like to think of them sitting on his sofa, scoffing down chocolate eclairs, and smiling at me through the television. I know that if they had been friends in this world, they would have adored each other. I like to think they are meeting for coffee and fattening desserts in the next life - would be heaven for both of them.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Included in an exhibition in March 2010 in the Mad Art Gallery, 56 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Addition: This painting is one of six of my little ones included in an exhibition in the Mad Art Gallery, 56 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland, to start on 25 February 2010.
Now in a private collection in Ireland.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Currently in my own collection, although many people are surprised when I tell them it's only a drawing.
Currently in my own collection.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Two in a Crowd, 2003, oil on canvas, 120x120cm
It was the light captured in the photo that made me want to explore the way the paint would handle it. This painting was exhibited privately in the Central Bank in Dublin, Ireland.
But I'm not happy with it, the child's face on the left is not working, so I'm going to rework it.
Monday, May 12, 2008
From a photograph taken in Rome in May 2006. It was the woman's dress that made the photograph, it's always some little detail like that .....
The sun was going down, it was getting cool again, and people were starting to think about going somewhere for dinner.
You can't actually go into the fountain anymore .... more's the pity because it looks like it might be nice on a warm day. They say that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. A nice myth.
Since visiting Rome and seeing all those places, I have read Lustrum and Imperium by Robert Harris, in which various places in Rome are mentioned. Sometimes you kind of wish that time travel was possible when you're someplace like Rome, or Pompeii. It would be really something to go back in time and experience what it was really like living there.
I've been to Italy a few times now, and love it. This is also small, 40x40cm, and one of a pair based on a series of sketches I took while on a day excursion to the hillside village of Fiesole, near Florence in Tuscany. Dolf and I were enjoying the shade around the Roman Amphitheatre in the village, and happily there were also some young artists on some kind of summer school, and they were busy doing sketches of the surroundings. Now I like doing landscapes, but I like doing people better ....
Fiesole II, 2007, oil on canvas.
This painting is now in a private collection in Ireland.