This is a painting of a house. Yup, call me Einstein for pointing that out. But there’s a bit more to it than that. This was the house that I first lived in, and holds many memories that I’ll never forget (all being well).
A few months ago I was chatting to my Dad about living there, and he spoke about when he had M.E. so severe it left him bed-ridden for many years. This normally would have been problematic for me as a young child growing up, but as we lived in Christian community there were people around who helped out. One of these was a chap called Mike, and as my Dad continued his story it became clear that Mike helped out a lot in those difficult years, despite him being busy with work and church commitments. I can remember times of playing football with him (he was rubbish), and once broke his thumb with a thunderbolt from 30 yards (or more likely a 3 yard miss-hit).
So to say thank you for putting up with the little brat that was me, and to acknowledge he has had a big part to play in my life I decided to paint for him the house where we lived, Vineyard Farmhouse.
The location of Vineyard meant that the sun would never shine where I wanted it to, resulting in a flat looking picture as shadows convey depth. So I used a bit of artistic license and changed where the sun was shining. This was fine till I started painting telegraph poles and simply couldn’t work out how the shadows would run on the roofs of houses, or how the porch shadow would fall on the stone.
Helpfully I live in a Christian community house with some very talented people, and one of these was a 3D modelling guru called Aidan. I asked him if he could re-create the photo in a 3D environment so we could play around with the sun position to see what looked best.
An hour later using a combination of the original photo, Google maps, Streetview, and Sketchup, he had created a model where I could test a few sun angles and choose which one looked best.
Once the shadows were worked out I cracked on with it. There was a few things I learnt – painting grass is a mission, and I still hate windows (no offence to Bill Gates). The whole thing was done in about 6 weeks, which is fairly rapid by my usual standards.
Around this time my Dad was getting married so for a gift I scanned the final painting in, had it edited to look like a railway carriage print (something he’s obsessed about), and then framed it as they were many years ago.