I was born
and brought up in Shirebrook, a coal mining village in the north east of Derbyshire
in the 1950’s and 60’s. For me creating images has always been a form of
escapism and I developed a love of painting and drawing from an early age; as
soon as I could grasp a brush or pencil in fact. Once a means of escapism in
childhood, art has become a private passion that I've carried with me ever
in Birmingham (1973-76), and a brief spell in finance, I joined the Fire & Rescue
service... a career I completed 30+ yrs later in 2007. I only turned fully to
painting from 2008 after I left the fire service and found time to devote to
There is a
feeling of immediacy, of life, of connectedness, with painting that I don't get
from anything else, so I have to paint. It’s kind of hard-wired into me. I am
principally inspired by colour, but also by light & atmosphere. I paint
mainly in oils because I love the texture of the stuff, but I do experiment
with other media.
describe myself as a modern traditionalist painter. I paint anything from
portraits to landscape, figures to abstracts; but it’s a moving feast. I don’t
stand still. At the moment my work is exploring the overlap that can exist
between abstract and realism. There is so much this can teach you about the way
you see your world.
For me the
act of applying paint to a surface is an intense personal struggle to capture
the essence of a subject as it appears in my mind’s eye. It can be exhausting. There
is inner beauty, a sort of “heroic” quality, inside everything if you look hard
enough – it doesn’t have to be intrinsically pretty, or attractive or
especially worthy of attention. Quite often it’s better if it isn’t.
really settled on favourite subject matter – I’ve never wanted to paint one
thing any more than anything else. I’m not drawn especially to boats or figures
or buildings, or anything whole like that. Rather I find I can be attracted to
bits of anything- the shape of a hat, the way a shadow lies across an object
tantalisingly concealing it, a glint of light or an unexpected but delightful
bit of colour. In my experience such things are very rarely comprised in the
whole of something.
When I paint for
myself the subject is mainly a carrier for whatever effect I'm trying to achieve
at the time, so it can be fairly eclectic. But what I do paint has to move me,
I need to be in thrall to it in some way. Exactly what that is I can’t easily explain,
but I always become aware of it as I work .... and I'm all done when the
feeling has worked itself out. It's a bit like being picked up and then gently
put down again by something beyond my own control, but all the time I feel I’m
on a thrilling edge. I suppose these days you might call it being in the zone,
but with art it is much, much more.
I like to exhibit
& sell my work......but it's not why I paint; it never was. Painting for me
just calms the soul. It's my private world.
I am almost
wholly self taught with no formal training beyond school but I’ve been painting
or observing all my adult life (in my view observation is key for an artist).
consider myself a student practicing my art, probably I always will.
shortlisted - Art of Giving National Art Competition, Saatchi Gallery, London.
shortlisted – Saatchi Online Showdown Competition
shortlisted – National Open Art Competition, Chichester
Fine Art, Cromford Mills, Cromford, Derbys
Gallery, Leabrooks, Derbys
Market Place, Ripley, Derbys