One bright June I was commissioned to paint a view of Cheviot from Corby Crags- but including Hill Head Farm near Edlingham. This was to be a very special retirement present for the owner of the farm, who was retiring in July after years of being a very popular school secretary.
It's a massive, iconic view and there were a number of logistical problems about capturing a view at the right time of year to show the farmhouse, which is obscured by foliage on the trees in the garden during spring and summer. It was a difficult painting to create- not least because of the scale and complexity of the landscape, but also because it was commissioned and paid for by a committee- all of whom wanted the very best for the recipient, but had sightly differing views of exactly what that might be.
I was delighted with the final painting and believe it to be one of the best paintings I've ever done. But was it what the recipient wanted? I'm perfectly well aware that a painting spends a lifetime with its owners, whereas it's only with me for a short time. So while I need to feel I've created something I'm proud of, it really needs to speak directly and clearly to the owner.
Then came the days that the happy new owner came into the gallery to thank me and tell me just how much she loves it too. We both stood with tears in our eyes and agreed what a magnificent view it is... and yes....what a great painting!! I'm still thrilled she loves it!