The Next Life
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
This new painting is one with significant personal importance for me. The reference photo was taken early on the cold and frosty morning of Tuesday 29th November 2016. I had been visiting my parents and was embarking on the journey home. Walking through Churwell Park to the bus stop I was struck by the sun rising behind the houses on Park Street. A long shaft of light fell across the embankment and the path that encircles what we as kids used to call ‘The Island’, and I saw a very ordinary suburban scene suffused with a sense of what the Romantics called ‘the sublime’. I’d been taking photographs all weekend, hoping to capture something that could be made into a painting, but only now, on my way home, did I see something that I thought could work. Churwell Park was a place full of memories for me – it was where I first got drunk, it was where I first kissed a girl, it was where I got beaten up by a gang of older lads, and it was also where I had been struck by several private and invaluable epiphanies throughout my formative years. I wasn’t sure if any of that could be adequately expressed in a single painting, but I felt it was worth having a go. I nearly named it after one of my favourite Mogwai songs, but in the end settled on a title that expresses where I’m at with the completion of this painting, moving on from one way of living to a new one.