For Every Lock…

For Every Lock is an ambitious work and one of the most satisfying paintings I’ve done for this collection.

If the work has a theme, it’s probably this: Whenever you’re in need of a ‘key’ to unlock a problem, or help turn a situation around in life, quite often the answers you seek, can be found in most unexpected ways…

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Or are delivered by a Peacock sitting on a Javan Rhino! 

There’s so much to talk about here, so let’s begin with the title. A common phrase – For Every Lock – is usually answered with ‘There is a Key!’ and so it is here. Look closely and you can see a Golden Key gripped tightly in the beak of an albino Peacock. And the lock? I’ll leave that to your own imagination… 

For Every Lock’s original title was ‘The Ambassador’, as I see the Peacock as a visiting dignitary of some kind, bearing a ceremonial key. This echoes an earlier work called ‘Keeper of the Keys’. It’s likely that the Peacock’s key will end-up with that same guardian! The Peacock took the longest to paint, thanks to his delicate feathering. Have you noticed how the lowest parts of his elaborate tail look a little ragged? The next time you see a Peacock up-close, watch how its tail feathers scuff on the ground and you’ll see why!  

There are clues elsewhere, as to the Peacock’s lofty status. The largest – literally! – is the Javan Rhino on which he rides. Critically endangered in its native territory, our Rhino carries his passengers through a dark & forbidding jungle. He emerges from a bloom of exotic orchids, into a starry night. To help him see the path, his small horn has been magically transformed into a lantern! A string of filigree’d jewels around its base, give it the power to glow-in-the-dark; can you spot the fireflies in the mist? His armour is a finely-balanced mix of bold shapes & textures, that mould themselves to the Rhino’s numerous lumps & bumps: very fiddly to get right!

Sat on a little saddle between the Rhino’s ears, is a Javan Tree Shrew. Comically outsized by his mount (and passenger!) our little hero is of some importance, as he wears a Fez. Regular collectors will be aware of the Fez’s importance in the world we’re building. Have you spotted his little flag? It’s not a million miles from the official flag of West Java, Indonesia..!

Scouting ahead of our delegation from the East, is a Javan Scops Owl. I love the look of the deep shadowing on the wings here, and the Owl’s delicate armour; such a contrast to the Rhino’s.   

Hmm… ‘Java’? I’m beginning to see a theme here…

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