Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Focus on The Pug and the Pea

The Pug and the Pea 71x71cm oil on canvas

I painted The Pug and the Pea for my 2013 Scheherazade exhibition.  I was looking at old Victorian and familiar childhood fairy tales as inspiration at the time and as the title to this painting suggests it is a pun on one of my favourites ‘The Princess and the Pea’.
This fairy story conquers up a visual feast, layer upon layer of mattresses and bedding piled high to conceal and disguise the crux of the matter: and that was, would the real princess feel the hard pea through all this fabric or would she be found out as an imposter.

I had previously painted a large painting with this title for my 2008 Chinoiserie exhibition.(see above)
The pug and the pea is a smaller painting than the original 152x122cm and it is square in format.  The thinking behind the dog substitute was quite simply that I had painted two paintings of my cairn terrier Maisie on this theme for the Chinoiserie show, where the dogs are sat on velvet cushions looking out at the viewer reminiscent of the china Staffordshire dogs, that I love so much.  So it seemed a natural development for me to pile up a few more cushions and repeat the composition and tempt a pug dog to see if he could detect a pea lurking beneath.

Maisie Blue and Yellow both  71x71cm oil on canvas

And a pug… well I do love pugs, even though I don’t own one (yet!!!) there was a special pug in my life when I was a young babysitter, living up the side of Carrigona mountain, Kilmacanogue with my neighbours  and their young family. This pug was such a pleasant happy fellow, a constant companion and happy telly watcher; he was such a comfort against the long evening vigil.
Pugs did feature quite a bit in my Scheherazade exhibition, from companion pets to replacing despotic Persian Kings, I make no excuses!!.. but the dogs bland, flattened features and well known  calm nature, helped me tone down the story telling side to these paintings which in turn helped to focus on my main objective i.e. the paint and composition… well that’s my story!!!

Secrets 122x92cm oil on canvas 

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