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Blackpool was commissioned by John for his wife Diane. Diane, originally from Blackpool, had fond memories of home but could never find a painting which showed the beauty of the coastline where she grew up. John and James discussed preferred views and James, along with his camera, went off to view the sunset one summer evening. Looking south from the North Pier he took a series of photos and then provided preliminary sketches for John to approve.

Once the painting was finished, John brought Diane, his son and daughters to visit the gallery. Diane hadn’t been before and when she saw the painting displayed in the gallery John said simply “Merry Christmas!” This painting was the start of a series of commissions for the family. Their family dog Syd has had his portrait painted and also a family holiday on the Isle of Skye was inspiration for an original painting for the focal point in their family room.