A celebration of life and light

March 15, 2003 § Leave a comment

Whitby | David Carr

Whitby | David Carr

The diagnosis of throat cancer last fall came as a thunderbolt. I had been painting in Italy and thought I had succumbed to a local flu epidemic. No such luck — and it was too advanced for anything but radical surgery. By late November I lay in the hospital, speechless in London, uncertain of the future. I knew my singing days were over, but would I paint again?

Those who survive major illness speak of a heightened awareness of the world around them — all its nuances, not only its beauty, but how even the grayest of days is precious. For this painter that is certainly true. My abiding concern in my work has always been the realness and presence of things. For me, the greatest paintings are those where the paint becomes what it depicts.

After surgery, I needed to paint. We had snow in London early in the new year. I had been warned of my vulnerability to cold, but I had to chance it. We’d see whether I was still in the game.

I survived the experience. Emboldened, I knew I could travel north to my native Yorkshire, paint the moors and the coast and see Whitby again. It was marvelous to be out and about with paint and brushes. And now to be a world away in San Francisco — city of light of the utmost clarity — is another blessing.

It is truly a joy to feel strength and vision return, to translate my sense of reality into paint, and to share it with others.


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