Unveiled – Portrait of Alan Garner OBE

May 4th, 2010


Here is the result of the past 4 months of work. It’s Alan sitting in what I named “The Writers Room”. He sits in this room to write all of his books and always spends most of the time sitting in his lovely old rocking chair which was his Grandmothers. It’s a great room , full of all his stuff and little narrative objects which reflect and reinforce his identity. I was particularly concious not to set anything up in this portrait. I wanted it to be absolutely natural and exactly as it was. There’s an old 80’s Hi-Fi which I really didn’t want to paint because it’s such an ugly object and I hinted at Alan to remove it ( this would have ben the only concession) – but he said there’s too much wire at the back , it’s staying  , and in many ways I’m glad it did because it’s as much a part of the room as everything else. I loved painting the cauldron , beautiful sculptural shapeand the glove looks like there is somebody trying to crawl thrir way out. The landscape and local archaeology is extremely important to Alan’s books so the window was very significant. I was interested about the grid structure that archaeologists use which is similar to my roughs. I loved painting the old tiles too, they really gave the space a shape. I wanted the angles of the room to be a bit crazy because it was such an anchient old cottage that they lived in called “Toad Hall” that it was moving and subsiding all over the place. He was a great sitter for me because he had no vanity at all, an similarly to the unveiling of Tony Benn’s portrait he was only really interested in the objects and the litle stories that they held and really didn’t give a dam about his depiction. Attached to Toad Hall is an old timber framed building called “The Medicine House” which was destined for demolitian in the early 70’s but Alan saved it and had it moved timber by timber and erected next to Toad Hall. It’s got a wonderful huge chimney right in the middle and really is the obvious setting for a portrait because of the drama or th space but I found the writers room to be infinitely more interesting and apt for Alan.

For a larger view of the portrait click on the image and it should enlarge.

For more information about Alan see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Garner

Thanks to the V&A for funding this project.


Entry Filed under: Art,New Work


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