The central image of my forthcoming exhibition is to be a géant painting of Tobias and the Angel (153 x 122 cm) work on which is just beginning. Today I’ve been exploring potential compositions for the subject, using stock maquettes from the studio and a quick cut-out pencil sketch of Jack. The moment I want to capture is the boy’s elation as he catches the fish. In nearly every painted representation of Tobias the convention has been to show the angel as winged, even though it’s clear from the story that the boy has no idea his human-looking travelling-companion Azarias, is in fact the archangel (lovely word, that) Raphael. I intend to stick to that tried and tested tradition in the matter of the wings. However more unusually I plan to show Tobias airborne as Raphael swings him safely from the water, and even the little dog soars as he exuberantly leaps in the excitement of the moment. Here are some of my arrangements of the maquettes, one of which I’ll choose to build into a study prior to starting on the painting.
On reflection I think this last image is going to be the one I choose to base the composition on. Jack loves to eat fish so he’s the perfect model for the painting.
I found the tiny knitted fish lying on a bench at an exhibition I opened last month. It had a paper label pinned to it with a message printed by hand:
PLEASE ADOPT ME. I WANT TO COME HOME.