It was a lovely, intimate gathering at the gallery yesterday. Close friends and family of the client’s came to witness the presentation of the painting and to mark the day with a sense of occasion.
The piece was commissioned by a local lady for her son and as it’s now March it was a rather belated Christmas present.
But much more than this, the purpose of the painting was both a gift, and to serve as a memorial to his father, who sadly died whilst scuba diving in the Red Sea.
Although he had seen the painting once, he was overwhelmed at seeing the finished painting, it moved him so much he had to have a moment outside. His emotional reaction was obviously mainly due to the significance of the painting mixed with delight. I have never had quite such a strong reaction to one of my paintings, how amazing that a picture I’ve painted can truly move someone to tears. So this really is a landmark painting, as an artist, this is what it’s all about, I had done my job well.
When the client first came to me with the idea for the commission I felt honoured to be asked to paint a picture of such emotional weight and value. I also thought what a lovely way to remember and mark the life and loss of someone so close. I also felt I could empathise, having lost my father too, which reminded me I had previously expressed in this painting, also a seascape / sunset titled Moving on. When she left, we hugged and I knew this would be a special piece of work.
Somehow the of tragedy of losing someone so close to you and the highs and lows we experience when grieving, the way you learn to appreciate the beauty of life. Perhaps by expressing this in a painting that you will live with as you learn to live without them is a good way to mark these emotions. This might seem quite a responsibility to produce such a painting, but you know what, I believe it made it all the more enjoyable.
The initial stage of understanding the fragments of ideas for the scene that he had in mind got the painting underway. The process involved showing him a multitude of sketches and photos of the possibilities. Likes and dislikes, but one painting couldn’t include them all. Some aspects were very clear, there had to be a boat, which had to be to one side, and not too much beach, mainly sea. It was a process that evolved easily and I was left to interpret these pointers. For much of the painting I was free to ‘get on with it’ although somehow the painting guided itself and in some way I think it was visualised early on. I felt we shared the same vision for the piece. From his reaction yesterday, I reckon we did.
I really loved painting this piece, I became quite attached, it came from the mind really as I didn’t refer to any material whilst painting, without the need to look like somewhere or something, I think you become much more involved in the painting, only you know whether it looks ‘right.’
I hope I’ve made a special, beautiful place for him, to think, to remember, a picture to gaze at that brings comforting thoughts and memories of his father.