"In this drapery series, there are so many possibilities, as I want to mix the drapery with my other favourite subject, the human – female – form, I anticipate it being my work for the next two or three years. Who knows where it might lead? Picasso and I once had something of a row about “inventing a new art.” He had said that to do so was the only thing that could really make an artist great, and I had strongly disagreed. But now I find I have, with no intention of doing so at all really, done exactly that. A friend in L.A. to whom I sent a few photos of this recent work wrote back in the greatest excitement saying “You are painting the ultimate classical subject, drapery, with the hand only you have of the Old Masters, but you are doing so in a completely new and modern way. You have finally really found your voice as an artist and I believe everybody will love and want these works, and they will establish you the place you merit in art history.”
Well, perhaps my friend was being a little over enthusiastic, but I do doff my cap to Picasso as I can see what he meant, as I have never been quite so excited by seeing the things appearing from the end of my brushes as I am right now, painting things as they might be rather than as they are (as I see them) which I have spent my life doing up until now. I also hope he was right about people really enjoying the work, certainly one of its main purposes after all.