Trafalgar Square, London – it seems that I’ll do anything to avoid difficult work – even by giving myself other difficult work. This particular distraction, Trafalgar Square in London directly after a fierce thunderstorm, is a scene I’ve wanted to paint for some time. I was waiting for my son on the steps of the National Gallery as the storm broke. After the rain, the sun lit the wet paving wonderfully. It surprises me that this painting hasn’t sold. It’s a personal favourite.
The exigencies of search engine ‘optimisation’ forbid me from giving this painting the title I would prefer: ‘London Pride’. I don’t mean it in a good way. The buildings are dark lumps, unimportant relics compared with the drama of the passing thunderstorm. The clouds and sun totally overwhelm the grand architecture of the South African High Commission and Nelson’s column. I am keen on heavy tumultuous cloudscapes and bright light, and here they make a dramatic commentary on human hubris.
One of the monuments in the square is the equestrian statue of Charles I. When I was 18 I helped with the cleaning of the plinth (it had not been cleaned for three centuries). There was a Lebanese restaurant nearby, and I remember looking forward to having lunch there.
On a different scale, you might like this little board of Wandsworth Park.