Although I have painted in watercolour in the past, I now paint in oil. I like to work with a dark ground, usually black or burnt umber. I enjoy how the figures seem to step out of the darkness as I paint.
This canvas was originally an acrylic painting I had done for studio class in university. I had rushed it and never liked it. One summer, in a dark mood, I took that acrylic painting, and some ivory black, and just painted over it. I never get rid of artwork, and this act of catharsis felt refreshing and exciting.
I spent the next two and a half years working on The Forever Painting, off and on. This image plays with a bridging of themes for me. It's hard to see in this tiny reproduction, but I painted a few fossils in the stone. During university, I used Rapa Nui (Easter Island) statues as a motif in many of my drawings. Here, they are also topped by candles, and the one on the left is broken. There is a winged trilobite, surrounded by smoke from the right candle. There is also a DNA candle, an image I often use (a candle with a wick made out of a double-helix, as an image of mortality).
The Forever Painting for me is about what lingers. The people of Rapa Nui are gone, the trilobites extinct, DNA telomeres shorten and burn in the candle, beauty can fade; but this painting shows the immortal bits, the fossils, the guardian statues, the double-helix, the echo of beauty.