I've enjoyed many coach trips over the years. Most seats are taken up by couples and single people like me often tend to share a seat with widows or widowers. On one holiday to the south coast I got sat with a widower in his seventies called Dougie. I had breakfast and evening meals with him and walked round Stratford-Upon-Avon and Bourton-On-The-Water with him quick sight-seeing stops. Though he wore a smart blazer and stood in expensive shoes he was a rough diamond. You end up with the face you deserve don't you? Dougie looked like an untrustworthy used-car dealer with eyes that didn't meet yours and a bent nose. Over the years he'd run a scrap company and been in prison, gone bankrupt, been a heavy drinker and been an absent dad to a few kids. I sensed he'd mellowed with age but for most of his life he'd been someone you'd be wary of. I remember him saying he'd messed up nearly everything he'd touched and his wife was "the only thing I got right." She'd died of a heart failure a few years ago and I sensed he was treading water and had lost some sense of direction. Coach holidays probably helped.
I wrote down his mobile number but when I tried it a few weeks later it was dead (hope he wasn't.) I never forgot that line about his wife being the only thing he'd got right. With this in mind I thought I'd do a romantic painting. I've done a few paintings of couples kissing and they seem to strike a note as I get the occasional enquiring email along the lines of "how much you want for that?" (a good boost to my flagging confidence as the paintings are pretty low-grade.) Anyway, here's the painting. I drew out the couple, painted in their clothes and a bit of flesh and kept going. I don't like painting hands but painted one here thinking I could always paint over it should it end up looking like a slaughtered turkey. It seemed bearable though so I left it in.
This painting took about five hours and was done mostly in lamplight. Once I'd painted in the people they needed anchoring into a background. They looked to be outdoors so I was going to fill the background with a few hills or distant skyscrapers. However at the last minute I put them indoors...painting in a set of drawers and some candles. It's yours for £8,222. Normally it would be £222 but I was chatting to one of my hot neighbours and said, "Nice to see you - must dash" as I was late for something. Her volatile husband thought I said "Nice to see your moustache," and head-butted some teeth out (now replaced for £8,000.) She is a bit hairy though and I've seen her putting shavings on the windowsill so thrushes can use the hair for their nests.
If you Paypal me the money I'll mail off this one tomorrow after sword-swallowing class.