• Sam Smith

Holly

Updated: Jul 18


Holly and Fife

This is a traditional portrait style like the ones what would have been conditioned by important Kings and Queens, Statesmen, Military Heroes and the like in times gone by. Except in this one, it's done in a folk style. The mostly 3-d rendering of the farm frame the central coat, which is mostly a 2-d affair. The whole piece is a little bit strange, continuing the dream-like quality of 'Yakuldy Spakuldy' and 'Tonto'. The work was in fact started in the afterglow of having found a good balance of suggestion vs. description - not too literal and heavy but also not so free and light that it's out of control.


The central figure seems to be standing very resolutely in the centre of the image, planted unapologetically. The hat (similar to the one in Tonto) is there and the coat is also very prominent.

I really enjoyed using the painting as a design space for the coat. I feel like I am rarely able to find clothes that I really like and find exciting (I actually often have dreams of finding fun clothes and it's especially exciting when they're cheap!). In the imaginative world of painting I am able to flex my hand at designing and love the childish dots and crosses to create and interesting pattern developed out of the multitude of simple shapes.


The house in the background is in a similar position to the one in 'Yakuldy Spakuldy'. In Yakuldy Spakuldy I think the home is one which is being left behind and also one which is going to be returned to. It is a symbolic home. In this painting the home is more permanent. There are all the requisite bits of a farm home - there are signs of settlement: chickens, hay bails, geese, a dog...


At this point I had just been in contact with my sister Holly, who lives in Georgia in America. I was thinking about her a lot and somewhere down the line in the creation of painting I realised it was her that I was painting. I always associate her with my favourite dog of all time, Jack (her dog) and the dog in this painting looks very similar to another border collie of hers: Fife.


Around this time I was also having a lot of dreams about back packs and variations on the theme of packing them with my things and having to leave on flights. I interpret this as a reflection on the internal work I am doing on myself at the moment. There is a lot of thought and discussion and it feels like the different parts of my life and behaviour are being weighed up and measured. It is as though I am sifting through it and deciding which bits to take with me and which bits to leave behind. The bucket of eggs to me represents these little nuggets of my internal world which I want to take with me. Simultaneously they also represent the many ideas and possibilities for paintings that I feel are available to me. The eggs are the ideas which will at some point hatch into full paintings.





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