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This painting was done from a smaller work on the island of Ithaca. It happened to be one of the most curious , enigmatic scenes I have witnessed whilst doing a painting.
When I had come back for the second sitting, various figures were cast on to the beach. A couple had appeared on a canoe, they were from Denmark and canoeing around the island. But my focus was a woman sunbathing on the sand.
The painting was going fine. I knew the beach well and I was enjoying the interplay of the various figures in the composition. It was beautiful weather, and there was a peaceful spirit about the place.
I was aware of a man who walked past me, and went to stand several metres away from the woman and looked intently at her. He stood there for a long time and just looked. I think the couple from Denmark and I both began to feel uneasy about him. But our concerns were allayed when he called out what the name of the woman sunbathing. She sat bolt upright and and looked around and saw him. She got up and ran towards him and they embraced with an intensity that made me feel even voyeuristic looking at them. But it was hard not to, as the significance of their seeing one another again would make a lasting impression on anyone witnessing the event. They embraced for ages, and with the intensity and fondness of lovers.
Eventually they went and sat next to one another on the wall where I have placed them beside one another in the painting, and again, they talked for an age. After a long while, and I was still painting, they got up, and walked past me, to the road, with their reunion beaming about them. It felt intrusive to ask, and I still wonder what the story was.
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