The perfect 50th birthday present- a specially commissioned conversation piece of 3 children at the breakfast table

21 Sep 2013

To all those who wonder, what can I give the man or woman who has everything in life?- I have the answer: it is a conversation piece of your children, or the whole family, enjoying a typical moment in their busy lives. In all seriousness, if there is anything I consider that I humbly bring to the picnic of portrait-painting, it is the desire, and hopefully ability, to find something lovely and enduring in the mundane moments of  family life. I think this is mainly because I am a landscape-turned-portrait painter, rather than the other way round, and also because I enjoy a nice bit of still life. And because I am a painter who makes marks, and builds up the surface with touches. This means, very often, the best work is done quickly, so that areas of paint , once wrought, stand as they are.

Here are the most recent fruits of such endeavour- on a school day, no less!-enjoying each other’s company, making polite and wry conversation, politely looking after each other’s needs, as all parents know their children do. Well, fiction it may be but fiction aims nonetheless at underlying truths!

Breakfast before school, oil on canvas 24 by 36 ins

I had fun doing the still life components- the boy’s lego knights on the right hand side were meant as a gentle underlining of the sense of combative banter going on over the table. That seemed to call for a balancing act on the left with the younger girl’s doll. And the artist’s coffee cup glimpsed in the foreground, together with brushes.