Artist’s statement, copy edited by Kevin Taylor.
Conceived when I turned 65, “The Quick and the Dead” reflects my increasing preoccupation with the effects of aging and an acute awareness of the rapid passage of time. My goal was to capture, in real time, the life cycle of a beautiful floral arrangement, which first I painted in its full, youthful beauty- a lively explosion of vibrant colour. After allowing the flowers to naturally die and dry out, the second panel captures the wilted leaves and petals, drained of their vitality. Whereas most paintings depict a single frozen moment, this diptych is a short journey through time, allowing both myself and the viewer to reflect on the fragility of all living things. We all live, we all too will die.
Creating this piece was a summary of the lessons I’ve learned about painting throughout my long career: complimentary colours, composition, accurate drawing, and, most importantly, varied mark making, featuring thin lines of paint contrasted against heavily built up impasto areas.
The title of my work is a reference to Hamlet’s conversation with the gravedigger who is burying Ophelia: “‘Tis for the dead, not for the quick.” This painting is a humble nod to both.
Today I painted this wonderful heritage home as part of the Elora Plein Air Festival. I drove it over to turn it into the event headquarters in the Art Centre. A lovely elderly lady(I was told she is 90) was at the volunteers’ table and smiled broadly. “You painted my house!” she said. I told her I added the geraniums to her window box for a dash of colour. “I am doing that tomorrow,” she said.