A chess oil painting by Theo Michael titled Make Your Move

Chess, a metaphor for life...

How have you been adjusting to the Corona restrictions?
Millions of us were confined to stay at home and were looking for creative ways to stay in touch with family and friends.

Perhaps you found Zoom, a video conferencing platform used for business meetings and teaching, but also used privately to arrange cooking parties and such, all online.
But also families in the home discovered old and new ways to connect. The popularity of board games soared and Chess seems to be a surprise hit. Chess set sales soared and shops struggled to meet the demand.

This chess revival inspired Theo's painting, Make Your Move.  

oil painting chess, Make your move by Theo Michael

The oil painting Make Your Move is a tense snapshot of a guy waiting for his chess opponent... 

A poker face is essential. When Theo's brother had a good move up his sleeve he used to give the game away by lighting a cigarette, every time. Our deadpan antagonist however is reaching for his Chivas Regal. What does it mean...?

Queens Gambit

Movement restrictions contributed to the revival of an ancient game, but it was also the success of the Netflix show of Queens Gambit that made chess cool again.
Queens Gambit tells an inspiring story of an orphaned young girl, learning the game from the caretaker in the orphanage and ending up as a world chess champion. If you haven't seen it, give it a go, even if you don't know a thing about chess.

This female success story of triumph inspired Theo's latest watercolour painting below, Girl At The Cafe. 

A beautiful chess player, captured in thought, is featured in this watercolour painting.
The ornate background of a bakery/coffee shop has always fascinated Theo and provides the background for the setting. It is the entrance of a bakery shop in England (Ashford Middx) we shopped in almost daily many many years ago when we lived in the area.


watercolour painting Girl Playing Chess At The Cafe by Theo Michael


The art deco design of the entrance, with the arched window frame and the stylised writing, is reminiscent of the Czech painter's work Alfonse Mucha. It was important for Theo to capture the warm hues of the wood, and the golden swirls on the glass window.

Chess, a metaphor for life...?

There are many chess quotes, and this one made us think.

''I have learnt so much from my mistakes....
I am thinking of making a few more.''

Not a metaphor, but perhaps a worthy maxim to take on board.

Take care and until next time,

Anja & Theo
From our newsletter May 2021

Talking about chess, here is another chess painting of Theo's from some time ago, The Chess Players.

The Chess Players, an oil painting by Theo Michael 


Back to blog

Leave a comment