The event.

On the 4th June 2002 four days of celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee concluded with a flypast over Buckingham Palace. The flypast consisted of twenty-seven aircraft representing every type of Royal Air Force aircraft then in service and it culminated in the appearance of the RAF Red Arrows flying with British Airways Concorde G-BOAD. Around the UK and the Commonwealth many events took place to mark the jubilee, even the palace gardens and The Mall were transformed for the weekend with temporary concert platforms and seating. At the end of the last day of festivities over a million people packed the streets around the palace as the royal family watched the flypast from the balcony. The Queen later said “gratitude, respect and pride, these words sum up how I feel about the people of this country and the Commonwealth”.

The painting.

Most contemporary art (and arguably life) doesn’t give us much to celebrate these days, so it was in a constructively rebellious mood that I set out to paint something different with ‘Jubilee’. It is a celebration of unity, of London, of the fact that the queen has now reached her Diamond Jubilee, and also a memorial to Concorde – in my view the most beautiful thing made in the 20th century. This painting is also a work of art designed to go beyond a specific time and place by making it connect with the wider sense of drama and wonder that we have all felt at some time in our lives. More than just an ‘illustration’ of a particular event, I wanted to create a daring viewpoint that could not have been captured on film of any kind and, in doing so, to let the viewer’s imagination take flight. This immensely detailed painting was very time-consuming to both research and paint, but such paintings and emotions demand this treatment. To learn more about this painting click here

The artist.

I am a painter with a firm respect for the past but with both feet firmly planted in the present. Though I am best known for doing fake paintings in other artist’s styles and for being a TV artist and art historian, the heart and direction of my own paintings is to be found in my landscapes, seascapes and aviation paintings. My aim is to convey a distinct mood in order to provoke thought, creating an atmosphere that anyone can feel. I have chosen realism as a way to express this, but with any kind of art its purpose should always be to communicate, because art that doesn’t communicate is bad art. As an artist I believe it is my job to convey my emotions and experiences in ways that others can understand and appreciate through their own emotions and experiences. Does that make me old fashioned? I don’t care! To learn more about Leo and find out more about his other work click here