Michael was wholeheartedly committed to traditional painting and drawing skills, which he believed underpin all great art. He was also interested in the traditional themes of painting, such as the mother and child image. His impressive technical skills and profound knowledge of art history enabled him to find new ways of interpreting those core themes for the 20th century. This painting is part of a wide-ranging series inspired by a teaching job in mid-France in 1995. He taught at a painting summer school and found much to record for his own purposes: pencil sketches, oil or acrylic works on paper or board and photographs. He painted the students relaxing in the garden of the gîte, shaded by parasols or trees, sipping wine, practising their sketching, paddling in the river. Hard to believe the child must now be nearly 20!