Lovers In Long Grass


Over the years I've been walking in the countryside I've surprised myself when grouse or pheasant have suddenly flown out of the bracken. By chance I've stumbled across lambs asleep, pigs rolling in mud, hawks eating a newly-killed pigeon, resting hares and more. Sometimes I've startled courting couples. I remember two young girls kissing behind a derelict barn (think I was more surprised than them), couples in parked-up cars, a couple lying in a hammock in a copse of trees and even a couple who had set up a tightrope between two tree trunks and were having a kiss between attempts to cross it. I thought one memory may make manifest itself in a painting and here it is - two people lying in some long grasses.


One summer's day I was walking along the Cliviger Gorge near Todmorden and felt I had the terrain to myself. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was surprised how few people were about. The first twenty minutes walking was uphill through fields. I was listening to a radio play set in a coastal town in Cornwall and partly in another world. In the distance I spotted a large rock and decided I'd have a rest when sat upon it. Once on top of it I found myself looking down on a couple lying in some grass with their arms around one another. A fluffy snowy dog alerted them to me and they looked a bit sheepish. The rock was big enough for me to move back out of their vision but it was a little uncomfortable for everyone.


I thought I'd try to capture the couple on an A4 canvas bought from Poundland (they're now 1.50 - glad I bought about twenty.) Nothing painted on something measuring 30cm by 21 can take too long and this didn't. The couple here are loosely based on the front cover of a romance novel. I drew out the woman and the man's legs and got started. As usual I killed the white using acrylic paint. Once dry I'd got out the oil painting but wasn't sure where to start. Skies are the easy option so I did that - a few low, puffy clouds. After that I put a field in the distance (not sure what's growing in it) and then did the woman's body and the man's legs. It didn't matter if I got things wrong as the long grass I put in at the end would cover up mistakes. Soon it was finished.


You could buy this for your lover. Normally it would be 26 but I was leaving ASDA and a nun was collecting for the poor of Calcutta. I said if you do a cartwheel and the splits I'll make a donation of 100. She executed both with ease then put a card reader under my nose. By mistake I donated 10,000 and now need to recover this. This painting can be yours for 10,026.