What is painting home for an artist?
After I left home to study in Oxford aged 18, Piccadilly station became a familiar sight to me. It always marked the beginning of the journey, even though, in reality, I’d already been travelling half an hour. Coming home for holidays, the homeward bound feeling only happened when I reached the station. It was a significant spot in the journey in both directions. A natural choice when I deciding on painting home.
This is not the station I knew. I remembered arriving at the station along the long curved approach road. A parade of shops on the left, and a railing edging, to the right overlooking an increasingly precipitous drop. Many a time I used one of the small shops to purchase something vital, like toothbrush, that I’d left behind.
The bridge, and buildings are new, but the world is the same one. That railing edged slope continues from this point down to the left. Where it eventually reaches the road you see below. Another road, under the archway, leads to a second drop off point, although I’ve seldom ever been that way. Strange when you consider how frequently visited the station.
I’ve always loved the colour palette of this piece, although I’ve never really repeated it. I may try to again one day. I think I just discovered Indigo. There’s a heavy use of iridescence as well, I remember. Although it’s been five years since I saw the painting, so my memory is a little faded. I proves that photographs miss out so much obvious information of the original artwork. The curve of the bridge went through numerous redraws before I settled on this shape. As did the tower it frames.
Everywhere changes over the years, but more so cities. Their rapid redevelopment can feel bewildering. Living in a place, you still notice the change. but not as much as when you leave and return at frequent intervals. Memories of what was are strong so we perceive an apparently instant change. The months of construction unobserved. The strength of the original memory compound the effect and softens the new memories during the next absence. Only to be cruelly reminded of the gargantuan change seen on the previous occasion. Only this time, there’s something else that’s undergone radical transformation. Time races on, but memory wants to cling onto what’s familiar. Sometimes you want to be Homeward Bound again. Back to the familiar streets and places that marked your youth, your memories, your life. But, that life has gone, and you carve a new life in new surroundings.
I think that’s why painting home has such an attraction. This is not my only painting of Home, although now it’s in Buckinghamshire, I still paint Manchester, and always will. Take a look at my other creations of home.