This painting is called “Lovers by the Ha’penny Bridge”, and for those of you who keep a close eye on my work, you’ll notice that this is a larger version of a small study painting I completed back in 2016. As often is the case I painted the smaller study to work out the colouring and composition on a small scale first.
So what can I say about this larger canvas? The first thing is that it’s an unashamedly romantic painting, where many of the unsightly elements, like garish traffic lights and battered road signs have either been removed or transformed with the magic of oil paint. Some might criticise this tinkering with reality, but I like to think that our minds often edit these uglier elements out anyway, especially when we’re buoyed up with a few drinks and carried along with the good company of friends, or as in this case, cupid has us within his sights. For this is the second strand of romance within the painting, the couple standing shoulder to shoulder against what we might presume is a pretty chilly Dublin evening.
As for the figures themselves, I purposefully made them somewhat anonymous, which I hope will make it easier for you the viewer to identify with the couple in the scene. In fact, this also applies to me, for I very much see myself, and my girlfriend Kathryn in this painting, especially as during the first year of dating we often made this mini Odyssey across the Ha’penny Bridge as I walked Kathryn to her much beloved if dented car. In fact, in thinking about it now, it was on one of these very walks together that I actually stopped to take the photo that this painting is based on.
As a final word on this painting I also see this snapshot of the couple as part of a larger journey, for having just crossed the bridge they seem momentarily paused, as if deciding what direction their lives will take next. Ok maybe, I’m getting a bit carried away here, but if you can’t indulge an artist talking about his work who can you indulge.
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