It has moved to the studio in Bellenden Road to be hung in one place then another. I have again stared at it as well as glimpsing it over and over again while playing ping pong. It tells me that I have not yet done with it.
I can no longer blame the wayward light in Talfourd Road for its having lost its colour balance. It has contracted Burne-Jones Disease in which viridian and ochre conspire to trump however many other colours may be present. This is summed up in the famous rhyme from Gilbert's Patience in which the Wildean aesthete is mocked as 'Greenery - Yallery / Grosvenor Gallery'.
The complaint is serious but not fatal. It is largely a question of key (what is light is not always bright) and what musicians call tessitura; in this case it is as if the upper strings are working too near the lower, leading to the equivalent of that overweight sound that sometimes adds too much gravy to the symphonies of Brahms.
The musical analogy is relevant to the other fault in the picture, its general format. The implied calligraphy moving from left to right, shouts 'unfinished symphony' and demands an eastern extension to provoke the action of reading.
An excellent chance to put both these symptoms to a clinical test came my way when I was asked to provide elements for a screen at the Ivy Club. This project took me to the Coriander Studios at Perivale where the whole picture was loaded, scanned and printed out. Since more elements were wanted for the screen than the picture provided I extended its length by taking a section from the west side of the painting and adding it, with rough surgery, upside down to the eastern end. Uncannily it was not a bad match and immediately the picture seems to be a happier and more appropriate shape.
Via Brad Faine's computer one can, as on a music synthesiser, change key at will. In a second one can shift it from umber minor to crimson major. The same image can move from sombre to raucous in a frightening trice, equivalent to (but not the same as) hundreds of hours in the studio.
On both fronts I learned what I needed to know and once again 'I can't go on' becomes 'I'll go on'.