Monday, 11 May 2009


Now I'm back in Scotland for a while, regular service can resume...

My painting schedule has been pretty scrappy and intermittent of late, but what I have managed to get done is a couple of presents for people.

Painting for presents is a funny thing - whenever I am painting regularly, it seems quite a lot of my output is always marked out as presents. If I have a wedding coming up, or someone I want to thank, or a birthday, I never like to give people something 'off the shelf' - I'd far rather make a bit more effort to make something that is personal to them, that I think would suit their taste.

Sometimes this is easy - La Barthe was a painting for our neighbours in France, to thank them for all their help to my family of late, phoning the hospital daily for us and generally rallying round in times of trouble. Subject matter was fairly easy then - their house, nestled between the maize fields and the hills. I wanted to catch a soft twilight light, and the way the house glowed goldenly when the sun was rising or setting on it. On the computer screen, it looks almost too vivid - garish almost - but seen hanging within their sunny yellow salle, it works.

The Lighthouse was a slightly trickier one - a wedding present for my swedish friend Anna and her new husband Neil. I've never been to Worthing, where they live in the Uk, or Sweden, but I know her well enough to know she'd like a stormy sea scene. I asked a mutual friend for some help, and he suggested using a lighthouse she liked in Sweden - Morups Tånge fyr

Morups Tånge Fyr, April 2008
Creative Commons photo by Sune Frack

So I pulled together a few images of the lighthouse, such as the one above, and set about creating a turneresque moody sea, with gloomy colours but a pale yellow light. Challenging, but fun - and hopefully enjoyed by the recipient.

It's one of the nicest things about being a painter - being able to give people pictures that are personal to them in some way. Just as well I like it though, as we have a lot more weddings coming up that need presents of some kind..