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Sheilla Fell

The first painting I ever bought was by Sheila Fell. I went to her studio in Redcliffe Square feeling uncomfortable and even embarrassed, thinking how awful to be an artist, having to put up with prospective buyers coming to gape, whereas writers never need to see anyone read their books. I kept wishing, all the way up the steep flights of stairs, that I could go and look without Sheila being there. I imagined she must be feeling the same. I was wrong. Sheila didn't care who looked at her paintings or what they thought of them or whether she sold them. She was perfectly at ease, seemed to me to enjoy showing her work. There was a confidence about how she propped up canvas after canvas that made me in turn relax. I don't know why I'd been so apprehensive - after all, we had Cumberland in common, there was no need for me to explain why I was drawn to her work. What I missed, exiled in London, she missed: the landscape of where we had both been born and brought up. The painting was of a haystack in a field. The haystack had clearly just been made, it was golden and the field flooded with a red-gold light, the whole atmosphere mellow and rich. It was a large painting and I realized as soon as it arrived at my home that however much I loved it I had no wall and no room to do it justice. I put it on the largest wall we had in the biggest room and still I felt I was insulting it - the power of the picture was too huge to be contained in our ordinary house. And the light was wrong. The painting couldn't glow, as it wanted to - it needed a vast, empty room and a great distance in front of it. One day, I hoped I'd take it back to Cumberland and find a house there where it could settle happily. But when, after thirty years, we found that house, the painting was failed again. The walls were no bigger and neither were the rooms. So I sold the painting and bought another, smaller Sheila Fell. It was a terrible mistake. The moment the painting had been taken away I realized how stupid I'd been. So it had been overwhelming, too large, too dramatic to contain in either house but I shouldn't have let that matter, I should have found a way to keep it. I grieved for it and wished I could buy it back, marry it again after the folly of a divorce. But it was too late. And then, in 1990, I went to the Sheila Fell Exhibition at the Royal Academy and there, in pride of place, at the end of the longest room, the room it had always needed, was my painting. Its beauty was stunning. People stopped and stared and admired and I wanted to shout that what they were looking at was mine. I am not at all possessive by nature but suddenly I felt fiercely possessive. This glorious painting had been part of my life for so very long and I didn't seem to be able to grasp that I had willfully let it go. I went back to the exhibition day after day and on the last became almost maudlin at saying my good-byes, I don't know who own the painting now - it merely said 'Private Collection' in the catalog - but I doubt if I'll ever see it again. In a way, that's better than being able to go and look at it hanging in a public gallery - I'd only go on torturing myself with wanting back. I can see every detail of it in my mind's eye anyway. It lives in my head. I can recite it like a poem, and so in a sense I can never lose it.

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FAREWELL

​खूबसूरत सा एक पल किस्सा बन जाता है, जाने कब कौन ज़िंदगी का हिस्सा बन जाता है | कुछ  लोग ज़िंदगी में मिलते हैं ऐसे, जिनसे कभी ना टूटने वाला रिश्ता बन जाता है ||  क्यूँ  मुश्किलों  में  साथ  देते  हैं  दोस्त

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