I was barely eighteen when my dear friend Fred O’Brien introduced me to Charles.
I had known Charlie for all of three minutes when he lent over the table and said to me:
“Listen here boy! Drawing is wrapping a line around something you could never dream of!”
This set a quirky, somewhat gruff and honest tone for what would be many meetings over the next ten years.
Charlie is one of the country’s great painters and draughtsman and I have been fortunate enough to sit on many occasions with over dinner or a cup of tea and listen to him wax lyrical about art and history. When excited Charlie becomes animated and almost jumps out of his seat. His eyes are enchanting, mischievous and often distant and his smile can go from warm to wicked in a moment.
I have often made drawings of Charles but it’s only in the last year that have I felt ready to paint him and I am glad that I waited.
"Drawing is wrapping a line around something you could never dream of" (Portrait of Charles Blackman)
James' exhibition at the Damien Minton Gallery continues to Saturday 16th April. The 2011Salon des Refuses is open from Saturday 16th April at S.H. Ervin Gallery.