A KEEPER- The painting on the left (Retablo, End of the Beginning of the End, 2009, oil on metal) I decided to keep for my own personal collection. I keep a painting from each group I do - it's not necessarily the 'best' one, but it's the one that feels like it has existed previously, but I've destroyed it, or its one that I see influencing paintings to come.
The source of the retablo on the left came from a drawing in one of my sketchbooks in 2006, after just moving to Whanganui to take up the Tylee Cottage residency. It is as blatant drawing, as it appears in my recent retablo.
The genesis of the idea features in its visual infancy in The Birth of Death (Under Black Light), 2007, oil on linen (you can see the painting in its entirety here). This part of the painting, which is meant to depict clouds or smoke, forms a conflation of the German and American eagle, the crown of thorns and a Spanish-Colonial art depiction of the cloud formation that appears around saints during visitations.
I used the word 'blatant' before as it's interesting to note that the first depiction of the idea is hazy, blurred and subtle - perhaps a giveaway that the specific part of that idea was not completely resolved, yet I'm happy with how it works in the composition of the painting.
The Birth of Death (Under Black Light) was quite an undertaking - it took over a year to resolve and complete. Just looking at the reproduction does not do justice to the experience of seeing it in the flesh - the scale, the different thickness of paint over the surface of the linen. Hopefully, someday it will be exhibited again.

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