Courtyard with Watermelon
(Oil on board, dimensions unknown) Private Collection
In this time of painterly inactivity, I've been doing useful things, like sorting through photographs and ephemera. As a result, I've begun to find images of paintings I sold before I could photograph them. It's quite a pleasant surprise to be reminded of long-lost "masterpieces."
I recovered this image from a poster for my solo exhibition, Aphrodite's Island (Gallagher & Turner Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2000). Before I went to Cyprus for the first time, I'd promised to put on a show of paintings based on that trip, but the making of suitable pictures proved a nightmare. I didn't much care for the part of Cyprus I was in (we were staying just outside Paphos): it was dry and dusty, and given over to not very inspiring agriculture, so my source of imagery was very limited.
This picture ran aground when I found I had a painting of two doors in a not-very-interesting empty courtyard and not much else. For a while it sat in a corner of the studio and glared until something suggested itself to me. I had a small drawing (now lost) of a slice of watermelon which I realised made an inverted echo of the rounded arches of the doorways.
When I'd added the watermelon to the painting, it became one of my favourites in the show; it went onto the poster and sold at the preview.