Looking at the sun
Looking directly at the sun can blind you but sometimes people are compelled to look at the light. That was the mood my client seemed to be in at the time he commissioned this picture. He’s a man of impeccable taste and his home is well lived-in, with interesting things about the place. Functionally, the picture’s aim was to invite people into that space. When we discussed themes, he expressed a personal vision, as if he’d seen the light, and that’s how this picture came about. He said he liked it, so I imagine I understood how he was feeling.
When I painted it, I was building this studio and insisted on being meticulous. Not perfection-syndrome, rather a view to quality, so this picture is rich with symbolic language relevant to his vision. The camel taking a sip, the woman being helped down, the people hugging and sitting beneath the trees all communicated the sense of ease he expressed. I took it full circle from there as I think arriving at an oasis after a long journey is only temporary. Rest, then carry on riding the way we all have to. That’s why the arc that marks the upper and right mean-lines of the divine-section has people in the tent packing old boxes, followed by a man pointing in a new direction just behind the rider on a stood-up camel gazing at the sun to guide him.
I really liked this picture when I put the brush down!