Church Square, Rye, Sussex
Articles

I suppose that a psychiatrist would be able to tell many things about me by viewing a gallery of my paintings. What would he say when he discovered that over the years I have painted many pieces that focus on doors or doorways? Might there be a desperate meaning to the fact that almost always in my paintings the doors are closed? In fact, I can only recall one work, a view into a walled garden, where the door is ajar. In that painting, a lady in Edwardian dress is carrying a trug as she walks along the edge of an English garden bursting with flowers (Gathering Flowers).

There are drawings of hotel doors and watercolours of restaurant entrances that all fit into this category. I have several ecclesiastical doors, their Gothic tops pointing to heaven. Not all of the church doors now lead to houses of worship as some have been converted to residences. I believe adaptive re-use is the term—an idea that I think we should practice here in North America where we demolish old buildings far too quickly.

From a white door in a pink Bermuda hotel to a gray barn door in Canada, from stone-walled surrounds in the U.K. and Europe to a red brick entrance, I have tackled colourful doors in homes as well. Often these portals are edged by flowers. Sunny and delightful is the way that I see them, or perhaps I just tend to paint those doors that attract me.

Would the psychiatrist read something else into the floral edging? Some vain attempt to soften the harsh reality? I have not personally talked to a shrink about my paintings and what they reveal, but I have had several academics tackle my apparently fraught psyche. If what these papers surmise is true, I must be heavily conflicted—sunshine and peace on one hand, while the opposite side reveals dark and desperate feelings.

I think that you can tell that I don’t take those grimmer readings all that seriously, but I suppose some would say that I am just in denial. Perhaps however like the idea that if you truly resemble your passport photo, you are definitely too sick to travel, my paintings show only my momentary reaction to these unopened doors and a return visit would produce quite a different result.