Finally, it is finished. I’ve been working on this painting since December 2014. I took the photo reference almost a year ago, pencilled the canvas a day or so later and, after that, it became a Sisyphean ordeal. For weeks the canvas would sit by my desk, untouched, and several times I thought about sanding it off and starting again, but within the past month my attitude has been affected by forces beyond my control and the necessity to get this thing finished became all consuming. The scene depicted is about 5 minutes walk from my house, a place everyone knows as ‘The Three Trees’. I’ve walked past here hundreds of times, but on the morning I took this photo the light was extraordinary – a low winter sun that erased the horizon and cast a holy light over a late 90’s housing estate. In that light the trees became transformed and I saw an allegory for Golgotha, where Christ was crucified, flanked by the thieves Dismas and Gestas. Now, whenever I walk past the trees that image comes back to me, which probably tells you all you need to know about how my mind works.
Here’s how the painting progressed over the course of the year: