Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Amor Aeterna

"Next day the memories of these things,
Like leaves through which a bird has flown,
Still vibrated with Love's warm wings;

Till I must make them all my own

And paint this picture.
So, 'twixt ease

Of talk and sweet long silences,

She stood among the plants in bloom

At windows of a summer room,
To feign the shadow of the trees."

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1870

The Rossetti quote is from an unpublished poem I found on the Rossetti Archive. It fits perfectly how I feel about the subject of this painting, Valerie. I started this painting last November and through the intensely over scheduled months finally finished it last Sunday. I had promised to tell the story of how it all came to be but I don't think I'm going to keep that promise as I first envisioned it. In this day and age, I don't think anyone would want to read such unashamedly over the top recountings of how Valerie and I met, got separated and found again. It started in the freshman registration line at college, becoming fast friends, developing feelings that we were too shy to tell for whatever reasons, ending up with other people down the road. Years of separation follow and we live surprisingly parallel lives never forgetting the other until one day Valerie recognises Charlotte Harwell's portrait on my website and signs my guestbook. It took many more years until we were finally together again but in all that time our love was never forgotten and grew all the while. We need never be parted again.

I wanted to celebrate that journey with this painting.

The background is a little place called Cushendall in Country Antrim in Ireland circa 1899. It was in a Victorian coffee table book called Pictures of Ireland published in 1899. Because Valerie is a huge fan of the Pre-Raphaelites, I wanted to paint her in that style as much as possible. My work has kind of split off in two directions both still Victorian but I enjoyed very much revisiting my older Pre-Raph style and seeing how it looks years later.

Yes, Valerie has been mentioned a lot in the blog of late but that cannot really be helped as she and Charlotte have had a lot of impact on who I am as an artist over the years. My next painting is the 30th anniversary of the first time I made an image of Charlotte Harwell and there are a number of collages in progress in what I now think of as The Penny Dreadful series. More about that in the coming days. Paintings that I've mentioned in recent blogs are still coming along slowly. Next Tuesday will be my last day working at the Paris-Bourbon County Public Library and I will have more time to catch up on painting etc. I will be sad at leaving such a cool group of people but I can't keep up the pace and still have the time and energy to paint.

A friend of mine has been talking to me lately about legacies and I hope mine is that the paintings outlast me and that it could be seen that the subject in each one was loved.


Robin said...

A simply lovely work! And what a wonderful tale of true love. It couldn't happen to a nicer person. Thanks for sharing what you are up to. Best wishes, Robin

Anonymous said...

I like it!!!!! Bob Wilson

Jenn Thorson said...

Nicely done, Patrick. The colors are astoundingly rich.

Patrick Lynch said...

Thanks everyone! I need to rephotograph the painting as I can see it's got some reflection of the sun on one side and a couple of bugs that landed on it while I was snapping off pictures. Digital camera viewfinders, even "large" ones are kind of tough for these middle aged eyes of mine.

The hair seems darker to me than it should be but we'll see how it looks this weekend after I reshoot the photo and repost.