cute boy scowling

Recently my son moved to his own flat, and he asked me to paint something to brighten up one of the many bare, white walls. I hadn’t actually picked up a paintbrush for years, so I was a bit nervous about the idea! Luckily I had a spare canvas lying around from an earlier creative period, and I had a few ideas of what I could paint. At first I thought some abstract stripes would be easy, and look striking on a white wall. I was inspired by the work of Sean Scully, having seen a documentary about him a few months ago.

scully landscapes

The blues and blacks of Scully’s horizontal stripes remind me of a landscape, and the colours in the painting above instantly brought back a memory of a poster I had in art school. It was from a retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1984 called The Mystic North, featuring both Canadian artists and Scandinavian painters such as the Norwegian Harald Sohlberg.

blue landscape

The poster from the exhibition was a detail from Sohlberg’s Night, painted in 1904. I just loved the deep blues of the evening sky and the tiny golden light in the church window:

Night H Sohlberg

But much as I would like to paint compelling landscapes or cool abstract stripes, I am not that kind of artist. My little blank canvas was only 40 x 50cm, so it could never have the impact of a full-sized Scully. What I love to paint most is a portrait. So that’s what I did. And for my boy, now grown up and decorating his first flat, I gave him a little reminder of the kid he used to be.

DSC00658

Advertisements