Trouble Man 36" x 28" Acrylic on Canvas £250 Plus P&P or Delivery £250 Plus P&P or Delivery
There's a story behind this painting. As a lot of you know I write a series of plays and films known as Tales from Paradise Heights, and I have started painting characters from the series.
Now I wanted to create an image of Corny 'Pitbull' MacGeehan, a character who appears in two of the plays and is mentioned in a third. He's a big character, an ex boxer, alcoholic, suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's Disease; a broken man in trouble with the bad guys of Paradise Heights. I did some image research online, typing randomly into google images and looking at hundreds of images that would be a starting point for the painting, and wow, an image jumped out at me, an image so poignant and soulful, so achingly, powerfully portraying what I felt Corny was going through. I clicked and saved, there were other images but nothing stood out so much as this one. It was to me a truly heartbreaking image, an image that made me want to reach into the photograph to help the man, it was an all too terribly perfect photograph of a desperate man pushed beyond the edge, and the hands - I desperately tried to capture those hands, didn't quite manage it - but I'm still learning, the facial likeness of the man here I did not want, I wanted the image to have a vague reference to the two actors that have played him.
There were other elements that would also be important for me. The film Hell Riders featured a terrific British cast (google it) and there were many scenes set in a greasy spoon cafe, so I wanted this cafe to have a feel of that, and for at least one of the background characters to channel that air of menace from the film. I also wanted it to of course feel like Paradise Heights so I made the cafe the well known cafe from there and indeed the title of one of the plays - DIANE'S DELI, the very same cafe that Corny McGeehan ate his last meal in. But to the casual viewer I wanted them to have a sense of a story and form their own interpretations of what the entire composition represents, an image from the beginning, middle or end of a story they create in their own imaginations. And so I complete the painting.
And here's the punchline.
Today I was contacted by the person who took the original photograph.
'You could have asked me...' Out of all the images I had scrolled through over different nights, all the images I had saved I had managed to save the photograph of a photographer who was among my Facebook friends, and not credited her, - what are the odds? Mortified is not the word. This is something artists do a lot - not in all of their work, but in some of it - inspiration - yes there's a level of skill here, but to not give a credit to a person who's image inspired yours doesn't make it right, right? Now of course I had no idea it was Karen McBride's photograph, Karen's eye that had reached out to me - if I knew that I would have course have contacted her and asked - because with the number of shares I have done of this painting it would be bloody obvious she was going to see it! I have of course apologised to her.
But some fantastic news is coming out of this. Karen and I have spoken and Karen is doing a piece on the photograph, the story behind the taking of it, and it's a very emotional take on what is clearly a very emotional image. On top of that I'm delighted to say that we're going to be working together professionally soon - and that might never have happened had we not spoken. To add icing to the cake there will be a happy ending around the painting...details to follow.