Hi Mum, just called to say...!
About the Image
Hello Mum, I just called to say...! is an original Painting by Cathy Read, showing London from a tourist's perspective.
Crystalline skies in dark cerulean blues dominate the top right. As your eyes move downward, the recognisable silhouette of Big Ben's clock tower and the Houses of Parliament are hinted at. You can make out the clock face but not the time. It could be anytime.
The scene is an iconic view. Photographed endlessly in various interpretations. This one focuses on the phone box. Taller than the Houses of Parliament due to perspective.
Bright energetic reds with a dark figure inside. The word telephone written in capitals across the top, superfluous and old fashioned. No one says telephone it's a phone box pure and simple. A classic style once disappearing but so fondly remembered that it was brought back. Although I doubt it ever left here, it's London after all and London preserves is iconography.
Returning to the figure who is he?
Who is he calling?
What's he saying?
We will never know but I imagine, in times before mobile phones, this particular phone box saw a lot of action. Sons and Daughters calling parents, parents calling the their offspring, lovers parted through work or travel. Friends catching up, the list is endless.
If it were you who would you call? The building on the left seems to be leaning over the phone box almost as if it's trying to gather it up or topple it over or maybe listening to the conversation. There are other figures too, a couple walking along and another pair looking at the map to see where they are and where they need to go.
You can just about make out the line of cars behind The Wall on the right a nod to London's ever present traffic. Notice the regimented lines and how they contrast with the paint. The colours seem to be trying to escape, in a bid for freedom.
About the Painting
Dimensions of picture: 27.9 × 21 cm (paper size)
Creation The picture is painted on watercolour paper. She draws the lines with masking fluid to a planned arrangement before painting it with a watercolour wash which gets covered with clingfilm. Once this is removed the picture is further developed using acrylic inks which are left to dry before the masking is removed to reveal the final picture.