The painting was produced for an exhibition with the theme of “journeys”. I had just completed several pieces to commemorate the centenary of WW1. The paper aeroplane has the RAF symbol on the wing and below I have included a paper boat; both represent youthful ‘innocence’. Beside these are figures representing the real Land, Sea and Air combat that took place to protect the whole of our British Isles. The gravestone is more of a personal tribute to the sailors who lost their lives on the ‘Iolaire’, a maritime disaster in my hometown of Stornoway. Other personal images include the surgical scalpel which symbolises a major operation I had several years ago, newspaper images, a concert ticket and budgie which always reminds me of my Granny’s house which I visited as a child. The passport, sea chart, underground map, elephant and exotic birds all relate to travel and journeys I have had and things I have seen. The origami birds feature in several of my works and are flying out from the folded screen in the centre of the painting of my family, the central part of my life’s journey. I have painted them in Edwardian dress and their poses are taken from the works of one of my favourite portrait painters, John Singer Sargent. This in turn leads the viewer back to the pilot and takes us up to the years of the First World War.
Photo Credit: william Wallace