It’s been a grim week, and arguably, little to smile about. Whichever way you voted last , I think the unfolding of political chaos, economic instability, the loss of the usual friendliness of tone in European politics and the really worrying increase in racist incidents, have not added up to a very positive week. If you were on the side of remain, this week has probably been much worse than that – I have friends that really feel they have lost a part of their identity and others that have more logistical fears about what happens now.
However, I have some cheer to bring to the table! Indeed, when I have been at the lowest points in my illness there has been no surer pick-me-up than a golden retriever’s smile:
In real life, it is my family’s dog, Sukha who provides that obliviously cheering zest for life. However, the smiling face above is that of Bonnie and was commissioned by her owner way back in 2015. You may remember that I got 80% there with the portrait in January this year:
And with such a promising start, I was terrified of returning to finish off the painting until I had a good run of health (by which I mean more than two consecutive days) so that I could be back in the ‘zone’ before diving back in. I always find this stage of painting the most stressful – so much time has already been invested and I’m already attached to as many aspects of the painting as there are parts I want to change. Looking at the stage I reached above, you may be thinking there wasn’t far to go. But, in fact, there was a huge amount of detail in the ears and around the muzzle that needed attention, and more challengingly, having painting it in artificial light during the dark days of winter, the colours needed much more depth and vibrancy. We are used to be able to change the ‘saturation’ of a picture with great ease on a computer, but I can tell you that such alteration stroke by stroke, shade by shade, is much more challenging in oil paint! I hope, if you compare both images, you will see the difference! All I can say is that I’m immensely pleased and relieved, and very much looking forward to delivering it.
And, indeed, if you are a fan of this Bonnie Smile then my local framers and gallery in Northallerton – Coastal Fine Arts and Framing – will soon be stocking prints of that and a wide range of my images as prints and originals. In addition, though these are both paintings I completed much earlier this year, I wanted to let you know that both Candy Crush and Tipping Point are now available as giclée cards. Some pictures translate more easily into reproduction than others and both of these paintings proved tricky to capture, both in their precise details and true colours. However, I now have really lovely reproductions, as both cards and prints – see below a lovely example of a framed Candy Crush print.
I hope to have Pied Beauty and Bonnie Smile products in stock soon too. In the meantime, I’m now turning my attention to a triptych of views of St Mary’s Battersea, inspired by William Blake: ‘without contraries there is no progression’. I have a very cute new portrait in the offing, not to mention a couple of floral works planned, inspired both by my new garden and our forthcoming wedding…
I’m hoping for a busy summer, and amidst the doom and gloom of politics and economics I hope we can all take refuge in beautiful art, beautiful nature and a Bonnie Smile 🙂