It's a strange experience painting a scene on the approximation of a human skull. I'm usually so careful as to how I express the inner personality of my sitter through meticulous skin tone, facial features, dress and the other objects in the painting. This skull demanded that I change my way of thinking to portray everything on the face and head, to think about how to express my concept on a three dimensional object instead of a three dimensional object on a flat surface.
I loved painting this skull, it was a challenge to take different landscapes and meld them together to form a cohesive whole. I love the work of Escher and I thought of his work while I was designing this skull.
With this image I thought of the fragility of both the landscape and the human body and how time wears on each. My partner once told me he did free climbing in his youth which made me dwell on how precious the body is and how in our youth we have very little fear of the consequences of our actions. Some of us chase adventure which brings us to the brink of death. The caverns and holes through the rock are symbolic of disaster averted and provide glimpses into the mind from the standpoint of age (represented by the crumbling rock face.) The vistas beyond speak of the dreams and bright memories of youth which seem to grow in intensity as we look back at them. These are all the things we did or wanted to do but most of all they represent the person our older selves wished we might have been.
What a great thrill to know that this piece was bought at auction today by one of Taranaki's most beloved artists.