|Title: Jimmy and the orphans. By John Bain 2010.|
As the idea in my mind grows stronger it gradually reveals it's content to me. At this stage I will squeeze a colour onto my palette, thin it down, and using a brush begin to roughly layout my design. This has to be done quickly or I will get bogged down in the small details and the image will start to lose it's hold on me. I do not allow myself any reference guides once I begin painting. Which explains the somewhat out of perspective size of the baby lambs. I just think a certain naivety adds to the charm. At least that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!
In a short and frantic painting session I will have mostly completed what I set out to do. Which is to transfer the picture in my head onto a canvas. After a bit of tweaking I will soon know if I have achieved my objective.
This painting, done at the end of last year, and which I present for you to see today, is one of those which pleased me. At least in so far, as the small amount of satisfaction I allow myself to have with my work.
There was a familiarity in this painting, that puzzled me. Had I actually painted something which had already been done? Had I plagiarized someone else's work?
Eventually the answer struck me. I had painted a portrait of Jimmy, my Mums new husband. My step-father. The background too is familiar. It is Bennachie! The mountain range, nearby the croft we lived on in Scotland. All totally by chance. A picture painted from inside my head. Very strange feeling this. I absolutely had no idea that I was painting his portrait. But there was no doubt in my mind. Even down to the cap on his head, the finished work was Jimmy Mackie. Crofter, Quarryman, Freemason and amateur wrestler.
A man I liked. A man I hated. A man I came to love and understand in turn. Sadly this revelation of my feelings towards him came too late. Jimmy was in the terminal stages of cancer when I began to view our relationship in a different light, and knew that he was, under a brusque and hard exterior, an inherently good man.
These days I am honest with my feelings. I will express them openly. Sometimes I am sure, to the embarrassment of the recipient. But if I like someone they will be informed of the fact. If my initial impression of a person is not a good one I give myself time. My instincts have been so wrong in the past. Dismiss someone too soon and you could be losing a potentially good friend.
Here endeth the lesson. One of the benefits of having been around a long time. You can get away with sermonising occasionally. Just don't overdo it!