The place has many links with my family.
My grandfather and his brother both holidayed there. Not together Oh no! According to my father there had been a frank exchange of views between them. So for years they each spent their holidays in cottages in the same street at the same time and for a fortnight ignored each other.
My Auntie Connie lived most of her life in Kingswear. She suffered from polio when young so she was packed off to Dartmouth because of her frailty. She outlived both her brothers by decades.
I repeated my father’s childhood and had many wonderful holidays there.
The scene painted is the dawn of the first day of my honeymoon. My wife and I had tied the knot, jumped over the sword or use the metaphor you prefer. The celebrations with others had ended and we were left to start our lives together.
The painting is not meant to be sentimental, bleak, happy or sad but a sense of tension it hopefully reveals.
I think each life is marked by events. There is the tumult of birth that we are lucky to survive but are blissfully unaware. There is the tragedy of your first day at school when very quickly you learn you are not the centre of the universe. I was lucky in this respect I had two elder sisters had worked energetically for three years to dissuade me of such a notion just look at Selfie. Then there are other important events:- the death of a loved one, your first serious illness, your first kiss, your first fight, your first oops how’s your father, your first car accident and so on. Marriage surely is such an event.
During my wedding ceremony the Vicar charged and warned that you are making an oath and that scared me. It still does. Just watch Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for all Seasons”.
The scene I have tried to capture in this painting is important to me. It is a reminder of how I felt at this point in my life elated at the prospect of marriage but terrified of the consequences. My life was to change neither for better or worse but profoundly nevertheless. It is why I couldn’t sleep and why I got to see this dawn.
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