I have just delivered a large finished canvas to old friends.
The first time I visited their house to do this commissioned portrait of the children I was surprised to discover just how many of my pictures they had collected over the years, around 10 or so, including landscapes from North Wales, Florence, a couple of portraits, including figure pictures of both my wife and of my sister Alice whom I painted so many times. It’s very flattering to realise that people actually live with my pictures just like I do…it sounds a bit of a statement of the bleedin’ obvious as of course I get why people want to pay money to own my pictures- they presumably want to enjoy them every day…it’s just that it is always surprising to find things I have lovingly created hanging in a corner of someone’s bathroom, so that Jonny or Jessica can enjoy it whilst cleaning their teeth.
I enjoyed the different textures and patterns on the many cushions on the extra-long sofa. The dog Sammy was a lucky addition- labradors can be a bit big to introduce at a late stage as they take up so much room in the composition- he creates a bit more life and movement, and helps to balance the interest in the picture more evenly between the girl on the right who looks out at the viewer and invites us into the painting, and the pair on the left who are so engrossed in their game. Solitaire for two (or three?), a nice irony.