This series of paintings takes its inspiration from the theme of la Fête Champêtre – a pastoral festival, or picnic in the park. Eighteenth century French artist Antoine Watteau reflected on this theme, depicting men and women in elegant costumes eating and dancing in graceful settings with trees, ruins and distant views.
I have borrowed aspects of Watteau’s dreamy and romantic approach and have brought it up to date with my memories and observations of people in parks and gardens, often in positions of repose, alone or in groups deep in conversation.
The paintings, sized to fit the architecture of the panelled library, have French titles. I have spent time in France over the years – indeed, it was my first foreign location – and have many memories of eating runny cheese and soft peaches in woods, on beaches, and in the garden of my parents’ erstwhile house in the Midi- Pyrénées.
Many of my paintings feature a clearing surrounded by plant growth. It is this sense of interiority that appeals to me – a safe place in which to commune with nature and to celebrate with our fellow human beings.
These paintings will be exhibited at the French Institute, West Parliament Square, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, running from August 1st to 30th (closed 6th and 15th) from 10am to 6pm.