Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Velvet Sorrow

This painting does not exist any more because it was destroyed. It was painted over, I think.

I painted the picture then I felt that the heads were the wrong size (in fact it is not just the heads that are the wrong size but all the bodies are ill-proportioned, and there are innumerable strangenesses in drawing throughout the picture). I attempted to correct the heads some months after the picture was painted. However, this is almost always a foolish thing to try, in my experience, because one part of a picture cannot be isolated from the rest: all the component parts are inter-related, so you end up having to repaint to entire picture or the picture will not be harmonious.

And after meddling with this picture it seemed to get worse and worse, and in the end I painted over it all, dismissing it as a lost cause.

The photo represents the painting in its pre-meddling stage: and it is very popular on Flickr, so I reason that what I perceived to be errors of drawing are indeed the opposite: they are qualities of awkwardness that help contribute to the peculiar atmosphere of the work.

I also reasoned that the picture’s themes had been more r less dealt with in two other pictures, “Before the Party” (, and, “A Russian Play” (which has yet to be photographed and put online). The face of the man seated on the bed reminds me of an Indian fellow I used to work with on the London Underground, whose hangdog expression was a source of enormous comfort to me during the freezing night shifts we shared in Shepherd’s Bush Station, London.

I suppose the idea suggested by the title is that of experiencing a sadness that is comfortable and warm and almost pleasurable: perhaps this is the sense of comfort people find in indulging in melancholy films or paintings.


There are too many pictures in this room and I don’t regret the absence of the original picture. Some paintings work better as photos than in reality, usually because of failures in paint handling which are diminished on a small scale.

If you want any of the pictures on Flickr then contact me: I need to clear space, and the pictures need good homes: I’m not charging much for them, and they are just gathering dust here.

No comments:

Post a Comment