"In the Revelation of Saint John the Divine, the writer begins the account of the vision of the apocalypse: 'My name is John... I was on the island of Patmos... and the Spirit possessed me and I heard a voice behind me shouting like a trumpet.' Then follows the dramatic and mysterious vision of the apocalypse. James Gleeson has set his 'Preparations at Patmos' on the island just before the time of the revelation. This island - earth, sea and sky - are making themselves ready to receive the terrible word of God that the end of an era is at hand and a new one beginning. Gleeson has them in travail, heaving and moving rythmically in expectation.
But this apocalypse is not about past history. For Gleeson the time is now. In speaking about the painting, Gleeson recalled that he was born during one world war, spent his young manhood in another, and has lived since with the ever-present threat of nuclear disaster - the worst possible apocalypse. The sky is his reminder that destruction, when and if it comes, will be from the air. The painting is rich in deliberate allusion.
'Preparations at Patmos' is a superb example of Gleeson's mastery of draughtsmanship and complex colour orchestration." (R Crumlin, op.cit, p.136)