Called Lockdown, it depicts a figure trapped behind words that have become synonymous with these coronavirus times.
‘I was persuaded to paint it by my wife [the Rev. Linda Le Vasseur, the PEH’s lead chaplain] and Lottie Barnes [the HSC’s arts, culture and health manager]. I paint mainly conservation, ecological and environmental subjects, and as the coronavirus is well into the environment I couldn’t really ignore it.’
Peter’s works are well-known throughout the world. In 1963, his first exhibition at the Portal Gallery in Mayfair, London, was a sell-out. This led to a further five one-man shows at this gallery over the next 10 years.
During the 1960s he sold paintings to the Beatles, film stars Rod Steiger and Jerry Lewis, as well the Duke of Bedford and Lord Porchester. Along with fellow contributors such as David Hockney, David Bailey and Allen Jones, Peter had a painting in the book The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, which sold 3.5m. copies.
‘For this painting I know it had to be different to the others. I’m used to tackling difficult to define ideas, so I had the idea of a cage, like a birdcage, made of words, enveloping a figure. Then I chose a setting – a simplified Guernsey beach, almost like an abstract, just sky, sea and sand, and filled it with indigenous shells to add perspective.
‘I did the man first and then the cage of words written in different fonts and that was the whole point, the different messages and symbolism of being in lockdown.’
The painting is now up for auction online.
‘We decided that all the funds raised from it will go to a health care charity,’ explained Linda.
‘Following talks with Lottie, we have decided that any funds raised will go to help the funding of Ellen Spafford, the arts psychotherapist at the PEH, who works with the palliative care team.
‘We chose this area of health care as it ticks both our boxes – Peter’s interest in the arts and I do some work with the palliative care team and this area of health care is one of my particular interests.’
Lottie said that the role of art psychotherapist is a new one.
‘I actually knew Ellen when she used to volunteer for the Guernsey Arts Commission.
‘We were looking for a role of an art psychotherapist to work with people with life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life patients.
‘Then I saw Ellen again and she said that she was a qualified art psychotherapist.’
Lottie believes Peter’s painting is a great conversation piece.
‘It’s something people can really reflect on, an incredible piece.’
Lottie said that the amount of art and arts-related activities that have been happening during lockdown has been amazing.
‘We’ve had loads of artwork gifted to us and we’re currently putting it all together with a view to an exhibition sometime in the near future at the PEH and at the community teams buildings.’
‘The size of the picture is 40 x 50cm, it is portrait shaped and framed,’ explained Linda. ‘The picture may be used in others ways too, but our initial focus is to raise money from the painting. The funds will not at any time go into our bank account.’
A daily update of the amount will be shown here. Bids can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will remain anonymous.
The closing date for bidding is 5pm Wednesday 10 June 2020.
The painting successfully sold on 10 June 2020 for £7,125.