About a year ago...or is it two years?...my Italian grand-nephew, when asked what he wanted for his birthday, made a rather unusual request for a young boy: a painting of my sister and me. He was thirteen only a few days ago and he and his father are coming from Rome to see me this weekend.
I started the painting...whenever that was...but wasn't happy with it and turned it to the wall for quite a while. I scraped out and re-started umpteen times until the canvas acquired a rough textured surface. Unable to procrastinate any longer, I have finally finished it. Probably it could still be re-worked but I'm going to leave it as is and hope Emanuel will like it.
I've called it Two Sisters in Time and inserted images of ourselves as children in the faceted background. Dividing a background into vertical strips of variegated colour is something I have found myself doing over and over again for a very long time, going way back to some of my earliest paintings as a teen-ager. It's not a conscious decision - it just happens. The feeling behind it, I think, is a desire to escape from realism into a more abstract dimension, but not entirely.
Two Sisters in Time Oil on canvas, 2010-2011
Below is another painting using vertical facets but I allowed abstraction to dominate this one. It's from 1994 when I had a SPACE studio in Hackney - the first photo was taken there. I had the idiotic idea of using this unstretched painting as a coffee table covering, folding the edges down all around. Thus it remained until a few weeks ago when I suddenly decided that it deserved to be rescued from a utilitarian role and treated more like art. I had to cut off the damaged edges, so the canvas is somewhat smaller than its original version, but I think it's survived life as a tablecloth pretty well.
Hackney studio 1994
Music and Love Oil on canvas, 1994