The ‘Men’ in Blue Suits are wounded soldiers that have been permanently hospitalised.
Many were 1st World War veterans, often in severe shock. Many used to visit Town on a Saturday
to spend their pensions and frequently one would collapse in the street –
lost in their personal hell and maybe re living a war that ended 60 years previously
All my life I have been aware of birds. In the dark places of woods, the sudden clatter of wings, pigeons disturbed from the Ivy covered oaks and the dark yew trees, they hurtle into the dusk breaking off small branches and dead leaves. In their mad flight they disturb other birds, blackbirds give their alarm call and for a minute the wood is hub bub of sound - before all settle once again to the approaching darkness.
When I was a boy, Rooks & Jackdaws used to flight over our house in hundreds to their Roosting Trees in Llanmellin Wood (The Poor Wood) - All other sounds were observed by their constant calls. On Cuhere Wood Magpies used to roost - Again probably a few hundred would congregate. One way or another there were always birds
In 'The Two Fires', a man (with a wife and a mistress?) stands hulking in the foreground of a painting in which the smoke of two fires can be seen spiraling into the sky, and two figures stand in the doorways of two different buildings on either side of his head. Sainsbury is chary of telling the exact story ("If I knew, I wouldn't have painted the picture, would I) and his attitude is a reminder not only of the danger of fixing his characters too specifically, but also of the essentially narrative quality of his art
To get the feeling of depth to the sun, I have tried to "look through" and amalgamate the upper body of the figure so that the head, shoulders, clouds and sky become one. The lower part is in deep shadow except for the hands, painted large, to suggest the strength needed for digging into water logged mud.
The length of the shadows fix the time as evening and maybe the colour and atmosphere is suggestive of Autumn.
Note: This painting, due to later work, differs a little from the one shown
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