This painting was just finished as we really became aware of Covid, and just about two weeks away from Lockdown. It was not yet apparent for any of us what it was going to be like to be socially distancing from each other.
The door is an opening to either in or out, or to neither. The mirror is like that in Vermeer’s Arnolfini portrait. I am looking at the back of my head as I look into the mirror to paint myself. It was weeks later when I realised that the shape of the mirror was a subconscious choice. As the news about Covid was slowly filtering through, I now realise that it looks vaguely like the silhouette of the Virus, now often used to represent it in a logo format. Add the fact that for most of us there has been so much introspection in this time away from people and family. What does a mirror do but show us what is on the surface? That is mainly what we see in another, but there is much under the surface.
How many people have felt trapped over this time? Many people have made decisions to change many aspects of their lives, and yet we also go on as before. For me, it meant I could carry on painting and yet everything changed: rhythms and routines, and getting in touch with people not forgotten but not contacted for along time. A reaching through time, distance and space which of course in turn opened a lot of introspection too.
That, I think, is why the colours are so deep and intense, and a little away from my normally brighter palette. We were heading into dark times.
It fascinates me completely, this subconscious decision-making and adding of elements to a story, all which happens in the drawing stage, and then only starts to make sense later as to what it’s really about. A true adventure. Sometimes there is even a massive reluctance to a painting, but painted it needs to be.