I don't remember painting this.
It would have been around '86. It's quite a large canvas. It sits on the mantel at Arielle's place ~ looks like a candle or something's been burning, there to the left of the boat. If you picked it up and turned it around, you'd see "with you," written on the back. I know it was painted over the top of someone else's picture ~ yellow and black ; a student exercise, thrown to the kerb, salvaged and passed on to me. I remember who salvaged and passed it on to me : Kathy. One of my best friends, I guess ; we hardly see each other lately.
It's about the morning after the night Bella and I went rowing. That's all it was, rowing. We'd gone down to the old Boatshed together, where I used to live ; where she saw the painting of Sandy, and Cliff told her where I lived. We rowed all night, up into the mangroves, out into the bay, up along Kathy's, past Frank and Kate's, and talked, how you do.
I think before the sun came up we'd pretty much decided the rest of our lives. It would involve two girls, a house in the forest, and a lot of pictures.
I remember the boat, and the morning. I remember the way the sun lit everything up. I remember thinking : there's an awful lot to do, now. I was 30, she was 24. My dad had died, and my best friend Frank was about to. I was spinning. I had to tell my brother I'd be leaving the agency and was going to live in the bush. No more linen suits, no more Fiats.
It was probably the pivotal moment of my life. I had the oars, & we spun, and the sun came up. I don't remember painting this, but I know what it's about, and why I painted it. I just don't remember undoing the tubes or squeezing the paint out, or any of that. There must have been a lot of paint ; it's quite thick, but in places the old yellow and black picture it was painted over still shows through, somehow. That's probably a good thing.
Arielle's 26 now. Bella works as a Gallery guide and a teacher. She's still an artist, still a mother, still one of the best people I've ever had the good fortune to meet, and I'm proud to say, still my friend.
Arielle has a sister, G, or JeeJee, or Greersy, who some of you know. Together, I guess, we are a bit nutso. I am held together by the laughter of my friend Anna, who writes, and is tolerant of the time I spend on OS. There are waves breaking on the wall downstairs.