The main subject is at the top left of the canvas. This man is coping with some rejection. Iím afraid this comes from experience, even the leaning on the wall. There was someone I liked for quite a while and one day telephoned her to ask her out (bold for me.) We rang each other occasionally. I had planned it the day before, what I was going to say. Rather than jostle with nerves for an hour or two I took a coffee into the board room in the offices where I spent every Monday to Friday and decided to go for it. There was a phone in there and I had taken in a wooden wedge to seal the door shut.
Iím afraid it did not go well. After some general chat she must have sensed what was coming and told me she was back with her boyfriend (which I knew to be a white lie) and, worse, than I should not call again. In my mind I had cast some hopeful long-term plans with her but a door was banged shut. I almost felt my heart physically drop down into my heels. It was the first time I felt a bit crushed. I donít think I leaned on the office wall at such a desperate angle as the man in this painting but I remember leaning my shoulder on it while I absorbed an avenue of opportunity being blocked for always.
About five years later, out of the blue, I received a call from her one evening. She had never married and had a second child. The father left within a week of the birth. For some reason things were tainted and I didnít want to know. Iím not sure if I was just more at peace with myself or had become more self-contained. I donít think I ever forgot her saying "don't contact me again." After two or three more conversations I felt I was a bit of a Plan B.
I recall my mum telling me, ďYou might end up with a ready-made familyĒ and ďSome women arenít as nice as they seem.Ē I thought the first statement was the more accurate but, in this case, the second was. Oh well; life is roses and a few thorns.
I know itís a strange painting but I'm not one for painting orchids in vases. As the canvas was small I couldnít squeeze in much detail. I should have used a bigger 50 x 40cm board to make the faces easier. I must have painted the ladyís nose and scraped it out ten times. She had a Pinnochio phallus of a beak one moment then a tiny turnip the next.
I liked painting those paint brushes and associated shadows. Someone suggested the painting be called Sweet Nothings but its not that sweet is it?