Going through photos of family members I inherited from my mother I was saddened because there were many people I didnt recognise. The few remaining relatives were unable or unwilling to help and I was left with a sea of faces I couldnt fit a story to. This made me ponder on the fickleness of memory and how the solidity of the present so quickly crumbles.

I suppose this feeling was heightened by the fact that my father (my parents were divorced) had annotated most of his photos and so, when I inherited these, I had a rich narrative of the life of family members on his side of the family.

I decided to explore ways to express this feeling of loss and the attrition of memory in painting. The painting above was my first go and I do like the feeling of the palimpsest that this painting creates – the image is caged behind bars of paint – receding into obscurity.

This second painting isnt as successful, I feel.

This self portrait expressing the same idea uses a technique I have tried in life paintings before. I feel that it lacks the visual impact of the first.

I will try out further versions when I can work out how to proceed, though I wanted to show these, if nothing else, but to ponder on possible ways forward.

Other life drawings and figurative paintings are available for sale on my website:


    • Thanks Margaret. At first I was glad of a break – I hoped to look at fresh approaches on my own. In the end I havent got much to show from my brief experiments and would like the life sessions to start again – but I’m not hearing good things. Perhaps time to do what I set out to do.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Both are well painted but I too find the first more visually and emotionally impactful than the second. There’s a kind of energy that is very engaging in that first piece that draws you in and feels quite like a narrative. If you hadn’t indicated the second was a self portrait I don’t know that I would have understood the dynamic between the two figures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your input, Lori. I also feel that there is more visual impact on the first.
      The point you make about the obscurity of the narrative on the second painting is something I hadnt considered, though there is quite a lot of obscurity on the first one, but maybe its verve might deflect too much enquiry.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, glad you like them. I hadn`t any anger in the first – I was too focussed on the effects of the palette knife. But I can now see how you can interpret that. Its informative to hear what others get from your work. I have stood near my paintings at exhibitions just to hear uncensored comments.


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