The model is Allie, the daughter of my eldest cousin. She was twelve when the project started and thirteen when it was finished. During the course of the painting she slipped through the door from childhood to young adulthood like a thief in the night.
The title comes from a poem by the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas (1913-1953). “Fern Hill” is a poem about childhood and the unavoidable exodus from childhood.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Allie is a recurring model. I have painted and drawn her and her sister before and will continue to do so, capturing moments of their evolution from children to young women.