‘When will you make an end?’

‘When I am finished!’

Not an impassioned plea from Iain Erskine, but Rex Harrison speaking to Charlton Heston in ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’. Not a film about drug use, but a drama illustrating the relationship between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I’ve been thinking about this film a lot recently, not because I’m comparing myself with Michelangelo but because of the length of time the painting has taken. It’s always difficult to predict a timescale with large projects and admittedly, except for this one, I have worked only 4 days out of 5 each week. Nevertheless it has taken the best part of 7 weeks, however I’m certain it would have been a very different story had it all been in one piece. I painted two 25′ x 7′ corridor walls a few months ago in 5 days.

The Mamas & the Papas suggested that the darkest hour might be just before dawn, but this one felt like the longest day. Perhaps this was because of the time spent on my knees working with the ‘little people’, all 37 of them. There’s no significance about the number, but it is a miscalculation that will haunt me. My intention was to include 35 figures, as a reference to the year 1935 when the original school was established but I miscounted during the drawing stage. I only noticed that I’d made this mistake yesterday and it would now take time to correct which is perhaps unnecessary. The figures stretch across 3 sections, amounting to a distance of 20′. After the Lilliputian chain was resolved, more Studio Tango. Shifting, lifting and repositioning the sections in order to view the composition as a whole to make final adjustments to the painting, took up the latter portion of the afternoon.

R2B30b   R2B30a

It’s never a straightforward or easy decision to know when it’s time to let go but when I left the building this evening I felt that, maybe, that’s it. I might change my mind when I walk through the studio door tomorrow morning, but right now I’m feeling that I could give Rex a straight answer to his question. I have made an end……………………………….I think