Damian Crock asked me to paint his girls and had the maddest idea (as usual) to portray them under water.

The darling Crock family: Damian, Sarah, Emily, Charlotte, Lucy, Claudia and Woody their dog who attempts to join them but only makes it as far as getting his nose in the water..

I worked from many of Damian’s family stories and a brief poolside meeting where I took photographs of the girls, their bathers, jewellery and listened to their exciting stories that gave me hints on their characters and how the Crock family hierarchy functioned to paint this portrait.

The parents, Sarah and Damian, had to be the biggest support so I based them where they ‘held up’ the family. Sarah is supported by Damian (he holds her legs) and also by Emily (the eldest) who helps sandwich the family together. Claudia was the easiest to position as she is the youngest but the biggest character,  and had to be almost bursting out of the canvas. Lucy’s special bond to her dad is not only shown through her embrace but also her plats that wrap around his neck and form a heart. With ankles wrapping back to her ears, darling charlotte presents her amazing contorting, circus body ability and the fabulous plastic anklets (yes, before we all knew they existed).

Oil on canvas. 60 x 70in. 2004