Artist Kate Gradwell painted Amazed Delight in response to my story Painted Love. The story and photos of the painting were published in the anthology Portrait, edited by Zena Shapter and published in 2020 by Northern Beaches Council.
Here is an extract from the story:
Don’t know what to do with all these pictures, kid. Burn ‘em one day. The house is full. Your place is full. All the friends have one. I tell you what. Give ‘em to the Salvos when I’m gone. By that time, there’ll be so many, you’ll have to shovel ‘em out.
Rosie stands up, pulls a painting out of a rack. A still life. A bottle half full of glowing red wine, a glass with a little wine left in it, a wooden platter with cheeses melting in golden light.
After the funeral, Mum said, “He should have done portraits. I always wanted him to do mine, but he never would. He said he didn’t have the skill to get me right. He only ever did that one of you.”
Manly Beach. Five-year-old Rosie in frilly bathers, blonde curls ruffled by a breeze, looks with amazed delight at the white foam swirling towards her toes.
I don’t do portraits, kid. Dangerous territory. People don’t recognise themselves. Think the painter’s got it wrong. In fact, he’s created the image of his dream. Or else he’s captured some reality that gets up their nose. You at Manly is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s a glimpse of a moment. You giggled when I said it was you. No vanity.
Kate Gradwell and me with the painting, ‘Amazed Delight’