The idea for My Lady Godiva came about many years ago, long after I saw John Colliers ‘s painting of Godiva, who rode naked through Coventry in England. My version of Collier’s painting is completely different both narratively and visually.
Lady Godiva’s horse – Herkules
The summer of 2007 when I created the 500 sqm large painting “ The Big Picture ” at Västerås Airport, I was also keen on finding two models for my next oil painting “My lady Godiva”. First I wanted to find a very big horse. So while I was standing there literally in the big painting at the airport, I asked Maria, a former classmate who was visiting if she knew anyone with a big horse. She did, so we went to a stable to look at the intended model. When we arrived, we met a happy Anna-Karin, owner of an incredibly stately shire-hores named Herkules. With a height of 190 cm (6 feet)(height of the withers), hooves of size 12 and a weight of about 1000 kg (22041 pounds), it was then Sweden’s second largest horse! (it only remains as memories nowadays unfortunately).
After a while of acquaintance, I was persuaded about a short ride on Herkules and I did not feel like Zorro on that horseback so to speak. Still happy and slightly exhilarated after a few minutes on the horseback though. Anna-Karin agreed that I could photograph Herkules with a model and I had Malin Lindström in mind who also agreed with the scenario I thought of. When we managed to get a date for a photo session in 2007, we went to a small forest in Igelsta in Västerås.
Improvised painting – the most complicated to date
Finally I was about to start my fantasy painting, which this time had to be 175 x 134 cm (69 x 53 inches). A common process I have had when I create a painting is that I complete them until I am close to the goal, ie up to the point where I barely have anything more to add to the painting. Then I let the painting mature for a while, to see it again with “new eyes”. With some paintings it happens that I get caught up in dissatisfaction as several parameters weigh over to the unsatisfied. So it was with My Lady Godiva even though I painted over and over again (In general that’s not a good idea, depending on how you paint of course). Finally I have repainted the painting about 10 times over the years! The few traces of the painting that I didn’t repaint significantly much are the traces I saw the potential in.
One of the more difficult challenges in this painting has been that I painted what it should contain without references, which has made me change the character of the painting many times. Not only in terms of content but also in technology and finish. Improvising a painting of this size takes a lot of time, especially when you are also experimenting!
Thirteen years later
As the painting looks now, it will continue to, and I think I won the battle over whether I could take the content to the next level or not. If I had not decided to take the fight, this painting would never have been included in any upcoming exhibition, but now there is hope. Many of the paintings from this time and also those created many years later, I have chosen not to repaint for various reasons. I would rather realize new motives from the ground up, than try to repair / save the old ones. Not least because the development is still progressing on several levels. Despite this, I have several dormant paintings that I see potential in, and you will probably see them here in the future 🙂