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A colourful oil painting of hundreds of people doing all kinds of things in an imaginary setting

HERE WE ALL ARE

unwitting players in a tragicomedy

We find ourselves here through no choice of our own - born without our consent and with death the only way out. We are all so different, yet all so much alike. This painting questions what part we have to play and how we go about playing it.

drawings, pencils, pens, ruler, masking tape, mug

Working Drawings

Most painters with any ambition want to make a statement that will stand the test of time, ensuring their place in the history of art alongside the Great Masters. Their ‘magnum opus’ will be something of the scale of Rembrandt’s Nightwatch, Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa, Velasquez’s Las Meninas, Monet’s Water Lilies or Picasso’s Guernica. 

 

Completed in 2018, Here We All Are was my valiant, if not entirely successful, attempt at reaching such dizzy heights. At 2 x 2.25 metres, it is quite a lot smaller than those mentioned above, but is the biggest I could manage in the small studio I had at the time, and has the considerable advantage of being able to make its way through any standard English door, albeit on a diagonal. It took several years of planning and around a year to paint.

I started, as I often do, by drawing. I had spent a lot of time gathering photos, and the next step was to try and arrange them in some sort of order.

Timelapse video

Detail of a painting showing acrobats, a boy jumping, a swimmer diving and a woman at a window

A few details

people praying, celebrating, begging, boxing, holding a gun and posing
a street scene involving sumo wrestlers, a fisherman, an actor and a bonfire

Looking back at it now, I'm not sure how successful it is as a painting. Some bits work better than others. I have thoughts about drastically reworking it.

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