Friday, 13 August 2010

Courtyard with Watermelon

Courtyard with Watermelon
(Oil on board, dimensions unknown) Private Collection

In this time of painterly inactivity, I've been doing useful things, like sorting through photographs and ephemera. As a result, I've begun to find images of paintings I sold before I could photograph them. It's quite a pleasant surprise to be reminded of long-lost "masterpieces."

I recovered this image from a poster for my solo exhibition, Aphrodite's Island (Gallagher & Turner Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2000). Before I went to Cyprus for the first time, I'd promised to put on a show of paintings based on that trip, but the making of suitable pictures proved a nightmare. I didn't much care for the part of Cyprus I was in (we were staying just outside Paphos): it was dry and dusty, and given over to not very inspiring agriculture, so my source of imagery was very limited.

This picture ran aground when I found I had a painting of two doors in a not-very-interesting empty courtyard and not much else. For a while it sat in a corner of the studio and glared until something suggested itself to me. I had a small drawing (now lost) of a slice of watermelon which I realised made an inverted echo of the rounded arches of the doorways.

When I'd added the watermelon to the painting, it became one of my favourites in the show; it went onto the poster and sold at the preview.

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