by: Jon Claytor
The painting, Looking Back, is part of a larger series, Future Past, that reflects on memory and childhood. The subjects of the paintings represent different perspectives: portraits of friends who are now in their sixties looking back at what they were like before life happened as well as portraits of my children, now all young adults and teens, when they were young and looking forward to the future. It's an examination of time; themes of hope, fear, regret, dreams, ambition, and acceptance inform my choice of subjects, colour, composition, and creation process.
This series marks a stylistic change in my work in this genre, which has gone from translucent washes and dark lines, to black and white, and now to opaque muted colours. The palette for this series is reminiscent of our kitchens and living rooms from days past. The creation process involves layering charcoal and paint, erasing the charcoal with solvent, and redrawing the image over and over. This process mimics the process of memory; how memories are created and reinforced over time and how current perspective can not be separated from how we remember things. Finally, a final varnish is added, freezing the painting, and by extension the memories it represents, in a specific moment of creation/reflection.
This painting is of my friend, Gordon Frederick Lucas-Willson imagined as a child. Freddy is now in his sixties and has seen a lot of things.