This is a very slightly cropped version of a painting by an artist called Jonathan Robertson, which was exhibited at Thompson's Gallery in Aldeburgh in 2010. I've photographed it from the catalogue. The painting is titled Voyage.
I think the meaning of this picture is perfectly plain and unambiguous. Here is a man and his woman. They are sitting together in a modest little boat. They are simply dressed, and neither is beautiful, but these things don't matter because they have each other and share a grown-up love. Both have a hand on the tiller, and they are steering together; but while he is keenly alert, she has her eyes closed, and is resting her head on his shoulder: she trusts him absolutely to choose the right course, the safe course. And you can see from his strong jaw and his eyes that her trust is not misplaced. The little boat is cleaving its way through a serene sea; there is blue sky above; and although the clouds are building up, they do not look threatening. At the prow is the face of a proud and confident-looking sun god, with golden hair and golden wings, the very soul of the little boat, a guarantee that even if the man and his woman fall asleep, this entity will get them home. It is the ideal dream of sailing through life together.
What most strikes me about this painting is the way the woman has surrendered the steering to the man, and the obvious trust between them. I ask myself: how does one achieve that state of surrender, that willingness to place trust in someone else so completely? I can't do it. Does that make me inadequate, or just different? Don't misunderstand me: I really like this picture, and would happily have it in my home. It makes me feel good, and it's so comforting. But I simply can't imagine myself in that little boat, as that woman. Nor as that man, on whom everything depends. So where am I in that picture?
Where am I at all?