Seven years ago I wrote a short post here on my site about the work of Eden Waugh. Today and yesterday it has attracted a lot of attention, sadly due to the release of Eden’s name as the victim of a murder early last month. Between the news story and my post there’s not much else out there about him.
I never met Eden. In fact, until I saw the pictures in the news story I didn’t even know what he looked like. But the painting of his I bought all those years back – Waiting For Her To Call – is a big part of my life. It hangs in the entryway to my home, and everyone who visits for the first time is stopped in their tracks. They all want to know more, to see more. We talk about how it is reminiscent of Freud, of Lautrec, or Whiteley; countless other masters. It’s all colour and darkness. Languid, but vibrating with tension, unsettling, beguiling. So far as I can tell, this is true of all his work.
Last year, Eden sent me a message, out of the blue. He had only just seen the post I’d made about his work, and that I had purchased a painting from his Craft ACT exhibition. He said if he’d know how much I liked the work he’d have given it to me for free. He said ‘Sometimes I wonder what the f**k I’m doing this all for. Reading your description reminds me why.’
I’m devastated that I don’t recall if I replied. I can’t find a record of doing so. I hope that I did. I hope I told him that the painting has given me seven years of joy and I love it more every day. I hope I told him to keep going.
Since that note, and especially now, I think about Eden when I look at the work. Paintings are so imbued with their makers that it would be impossible not to. Every brushstroke, every edge of colour, you can feel the artist’s hand, feel the crackle of neurons firing.
It’s not my place to speculate about Eden’s life, but I feel it is important to acknowledge that he was an incredible artist who, for whatever tangle of reasons, stayed just below the surface of recognition and profile. I know there are a great many of his artworks out there, and I’m sure they bring bliss and intrigue wherever they are found. That is more than most of us will ever hope to be able say, when we’re gone.