My favourite painting: Oliver Spencer

Oliver Spencer of Favourbrook picks a painting of cricket with colours 'to sear into your eyes, burn into the retinas.'

Oliver Spencer on ‘Cricket Painting (Paragrand)’ by Peter Doig

‘Cricket Painting reminds me of when I was a boy who used to really enjoy playing cricket on the beach with friends and family — it brings back such happy memories. I love the vivid colours in the picture, which reflects the diversity of a game that’s played in many countries around the world now.

‘This goes hand-in-hand with my love of travel. Last year, I started a travel business for people who like to have adventures and tell stories — an amazing project that has helped me to live out my dreams. When the tide goes out, the stumps come up.’

Oliver Spencer is the founder of clothing brand Favourbrook and the online travel site Secret Trips

Charlotte Mullins comments on ‘Cricket Painting (Paragrand)’

Peter Doig’s dreamlike canvases of isolated figures and buildings in pulsating landscapes are highly sought after. His 1990 painting Swamped sold at auction two years ago for $39 million (about £31 million). Although his early work was often based on his Canadian childhood, since 2002 he increasingly painted Trinidadian scenes. He lived on the Caribbean island for nearly 20 years before returning to Britain in 2021 (Mr Doig had been born in Edinburgh and studied in London).

In Cricket Painting, we see a game of grassroots cricket (or, more accurately, wind ball) held on a Trinidad beach. The bowler is following through as a tennis ball sails towards the batter. A wicket keeper stands some way behind him, dissolving into the vibrant orange sand and licks of blue sea. As in all Mr Doig’s work, the subject matter and the surface of the painting have a symbiotic relationship. Grass, beach and sky become flat, coloured shapes; the wicket keeper seeps into the paint like a memory.

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The bowler appears as if in shadow, an aura of lime-green paint dripping down around his upper body. The ball hurtles across the vivid sand, a hot mix of fluorescent paint and cadmium orange: ‘I want the colour to sear into your eyes, burn into the retinas,’ Mr Doig says, ‘fuse the image into the back of your head when you look at it.’ He works from preparatory drawings and photographs, but, ultimately, each painting is a distillation of a past event, reformed on the canvas like a hallucinogenic dream.


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