Some weeks ago I was looking after my young niece Aoibhe. She likes to paint but usually she works on paper. On the particular day she came to visit, I had a blank canvas on my easel. I had intended painting something myself that day. Aoibhe, however decided that she wanted to paint something on the canvas and this is the result. What amazed me at the time was her choice of subject matter – she knew exactly what she wanted to paint – the Grim Reaper. I have absolutely no idea where she got the idea from, but she knew what he looked like. Refusing all offers of help with colour or brush choice , she went ahead and within half an hour she had created this painting. I love it – as far as I am concerned it is the best painting in the whole wide world!! I should also point that Aoibhe is a very happy child, full of energy and life. This is, I think, reflected in this work
The figure of the Grim Reaper dominates the picture, shrouded in his black cloak and carrying his scythe. He stands in fire and is accompanied by a large black bird with white beak who flies overhead. On either side of him are two ghosts (I subsequently found out), who are ascending towards the sky. What I love about this picture is that despite the subject matter, it is full of colour and, I found out later that the reason for this is that they are all in heaven. Every time I look at this painting I smile. It is full of optimism and innocence. Unfortunately the artist refused to give it to me as she wanted to give it to her mother.
I am reminded again of that quote of Picasso’s “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”