Saturday, 2 February 2013


96. Portrait (detail) by Deborah Pye
oil on gesso

During the years that Peter was teaching I went to the end of year degree shows. At one of these I admired the work of Deborah Pye and commissioned her to make a portrait of our elder daughter. The two girls were only a few years different in age and when Debbie came to the house I left them to their own devices. In time Debbie produced a painting that she considered finished. It did not resemble the paintings that she had displayed at her degree show. She had tried too hard to make something that she thought would please us and not what she would want for herself. It was suggested that she rework the painting to her own satisfaction. When she returned with the painting as it is now we were all delighted.
This painting tells me a story. Our daughter sits on her bedroom floor but looks away from us, gazing out, beyond the walls. She is ready to 'fly the nest'. A couple of months later she went away to university and on to her own life, since when she has returned home only for short visits on high days and holidays.