At last. This is the first painting I’ve finished all year, which is a frustratingly slow rate of output for me, but still quicker than Edward Hopper, who only managed an average of two per year and did not have the excuse of a full-time day job to justify his feeble work rate. In my own defence, I have been working on other projects (some of which might even get published), and have started and scrapped two other paintings along the way. Now I have two landscapes well under way and plan to finish a new painting each month from now until the end of the year.
As for this one, it took just over 3 months from the first pencils, and here’s how it progressed over time:
Unusually for me, I had no idea for the title until it was finished. The intention from the outset was to pretend I was John Everett Millais, albeit a Millais who had grown up on a south Leeds council estate and spent his adolescence in his bedroom drawing and listening to the radio. Back then, I was utterly ignorant of art history, recognising almost nothing before the Marvel comics I inherited from my older brother, and sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t better off being that ignorant? Now, with all that knowledge of what’s gone before, it’s often hard to find a reason to start a painting and see it through to the end, because you’re always aware that it’s been done before a hundred, thousand times before. But what’s the alternative? Take up golf? Bollocks to that. It seems the way forward to is carry on living inside that teenage bedroom in my head, occasionally sliding out under the door some examples of what I’ve been doing, while there is still time to do it.