Lying Men

I remember it was a year ago, well it was a Friday, the Friday the general election results were unfolding on the TV and radio. It was not a good day and it felt bleak the direction voters had pulled the UK towards. While the results of the election were becoming increasingly real I was sat in my studio painting.

A year ago I started the Lying Men series. Although I didn’t know it was series when it started. I created a painting of a man lying down, I then created two more. It grabbed my interest and over the year the work developed and the collection of paintings were shown earlier this year at the Lovely Gallery in Sydenham.

These works came from observations made in the city of London of office workers on their lunch breaks. Workers suited squeeze into ever diminishing patches of grass to grab a bit of non airconditioned air and rest for a few minutes in the midday sun. To kick back and snooze for a quick power nap. Out of context these images look restful, soporific, surreal and dreamlike.

Feel free to read them as you wish but they are undoubtably lying men and I will always remember that they first appeared at the general election.

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Art and Dialogue: A Conversation

 –     You’re a painter aren’t you?

–        Yes

–        Can you do a painting of my dog

–        I don’t know, I’ve never made a painting of a dog before

–        I reckon you could, your work looks good.

–        Thank you, I suppose I could.

–        It’s him (shows her picture of the dog) he’s called Blue, well was Blue, he died some months ago. I’m just getting to terms with it. I loved that dog.

–        He’s a fine looking dog.

–        I didn’t know he was inbred and as a result he developed some problem with his spine. I had to have him euthanised. Tore me apart, still does. I loved that dog. He was a character, used to chew everything up and cause chaos. I miss him. Do you reckon you could do it?

–        Yes I could do a painting of him, I’ll work from the photo, but I’ll remove all the Christmas paraphernalia in the background.

–        And remove his harness; I’d like the painting of him without his harness.

–        Ok send me the picture, I’ll work out a size and cost and we’ll go from there.

–        Ok let me know and I’ll ok it with the missus.

–        Agreed.

Few Weeks Later

–        I’ve got something to show you

–        Oh I nearly forgot, or thought you wouldn’t have it done by now.

(She shows him the painting)



–        It’s not dry yet but will be in a couple of weeks, you can take it then, unless you want anything changed.

–      It’s him, its Blue, you’ve captured him, oh I can’t believe you did it, its him, it’s his eyes and nose, it’s so like him. I’m so pleased. I didn’t think you’d do it, not having done a painting of a dog before, I thought it’d be risky asking you but I had a feeling you’d be good.

–        Well I have to admit I was a bit nervous showing you, I was worried he wouldn’t look anything like your dog or you wouldn’t like it.

–        I can’t wait to show the misses, I think I’ll put it in the bedroom.

–        Will she be ok with that?

–        Well she’ll have to. Blue used to sleep on the bed and she had no choice over that.

–        I see.

–        I’ve got two other dogs, could you paint them?

–        Well…yes…I expect so, have you got pictures?

–        Yes, this is Max (showing pictures on his phone) and this is Daisy. Max is a terror, has loads of energy and chews everything up. I have to pay a dog walker to exercise him as he has so much energy. He has to sleep in a cage at or he’ll chew at everything. Spent £50 on toys and they were chewed to pieces in hours. But you wouldn’t know from the pictures.

–        No definitely not.

–        But he’ll never replace Blue, (looks at painting again) I can’t believe how well you’ve done this, I’m made up. I am away on holiday next week but I’ll pick him up on my return.

–        Yes whenever you can.

–        And you’ll do the others

–        Yes send me the pictures and I’ll start them soon.

Few Weeks later

–        Do you drink wine?

–        Yes

–        Oh good, here you go (handing a bottle of wine) open it an hour before to let in breath, although I’d just drink it.

–        Yes I probably will. Thank you. Here’s Blue, all dry, I’ll wrap him up – I hope you still like it.

–        Yes its spot on – I told my Mum about it and she was so keen to see it she wanted to send my cousin round to collect the painting while I was away, but I told her no and to wait as you wouldn’t know who that was.

–        Probably best as I would prefer to give it to you.

–        I think I’ll let my Mum have the painting on her walls as she loved that dog. In fact I’m going there straight after here to hang it. The whole family are going round to hers this evening to see the painting and toast Blue.

–        Oh that’s very touching, how many in your family.

–        Oh its huge, I come from a travellers family so there are loads of us, I’m not sure we’ll all fit in the house but we’ll all go anyway.

–        That sounds like a good get together.

–        Yes it will be.

–        Enjoy.

–        Thank you

Texts later

Thanks for letting me collect Blue painting today, my mum loved it and the rest of the family will turn up later and again thanks

So all my family have now seen Blue painting and were amazed that you got him so perfect. I look forward to your next master class and thanks again.

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