|"Down the Tracks"|
Strensall Common furnished yet another painting for me here. This is a departure from the usual scene I paint in this magical landscape. We were crossing the track that bisects the Common. It is one of those unmanned crossings with a little gate for pedestrians to cross. It bears the quaint advice to ‘Look both ways before attempting crossing”. Although I wouldn't advise doing a painting this near to the tracks, we had ample time for Merice to take a photograph. When I decided to paint the scene from memory using her photo for reference I made a slight change. The track actually runs in a dead straight line off towards Scarborough but I made it curve as it makes a better composition while still leading the viewer into the scene. After a bit of careful masking I was able to paint quickly and loosely. After a bit of tidying up I was well pleased with my efforts. Now for me this was a ‘happy’ painting – a memory of a happy day strolling about in one of my favourite places – but different people have different memories. It was hanging on the wall in my old Studio/Gallery in Old Town, Bridlington. A young couple came to look round and the lady shivered when she stood before the painting. I was intrigued and asked why she had reacted so. The couple had just come back from a visit to relatives in Poland. During their stay they visited the Holocaust Centre in Auschwitz. The unimaginable horrors there had impacted on her family and these things were still on her mind. She said the painting reminded her of the railway line leading into the camp and that was why she shuddered. So there you are – the same thing can produce a vastly different experience for someone else. I have to be honest and tell you that since that encounter I look at this painting in a different light. But there are some things that should never be allowed to be forgotten.