This painting is dedicated to any one who is no longer able to drink tea with someone dear.
I don’t often paint still lives. But I had an idea, and so had to paint it out of my head.
I was looking at Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece Still life with Onions (pictured right) thinking how lonely and sad it was. On the table is a letter from his brother Theo, a paperback novel, Vincent’s pipe and tobacco pouch – a portrait of a man on his own, craving company, missing the closeness of friends and family.
So I thought I’d bring the idea up to date and fill it with warmth, love, voices, sweet treats, refreshment, and today’s primary means of communication.
Drinking tea with my family and friends is one of my favourite pastimes. I love to share ideas, find out how people are doing, talk complete nonsense, moan about the weather, as well as tackle more serious stuff (which invariably leads to Brexit!) I try to do it often. Taking tea with friends and family is always full of love, laughter, crazy ideas, and often memories of those that used to drink tea with us but have since returned to stardust…
… people like my much-missed and long-gone grandmothers, both of whom are represented in this painting and both of whom loved a cuppa. The yellow plate (Royal Worcester ‘Rail and Chain’ from the 1920s) belonged to my paternal grandmother, Nellie. The tea cups and saucers belonged to my maternal grandmother, Nora. The Acapulco teapot from Villeroy and Boch has a hell of a story spanning early 1970s Leamington Spa with my mum, and 40 years later, poet Pablo Neruda in Santiago de Chile.
I hope you can see the love I have tried to express in this painting.
When you visit the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum its a job to know where to look - at the marvellous exhibits? Or at the magnificent architecture? In this painting you'll spot a dodo, some dinosaur footprints, the swifts that nest in the tower, a dinosaur skeleton and so much more! My favourite bit is the frog in the jar. What's your's? The title comes from Charles Darwin's book 'The Origin of Species' in which he wrote of his theory of evolution by natural selection: "There is grandeur in this view of life..." The print is last one of a limited edition (of 4) hand-made drypoint tinted with watercolour - 450mm x 700mm.