From early childhood I have always found the act of drawing and painting completely absorbing. I think all artists retain that early wonder of the magic that occurs when a pencil or brush begins to dance on a sheet of paper or canvas.
Of course, I had no idea of the concept of an ‘artist’ at this age, let alone the idea the people could make it their life.
Then, at the age of 14, on a school-trip to the National Gallery, my life changed. The only framed paintings I had seen prior to this had been badly faded reproductions over family mantlepieces. Now,I was suddenly confronted by paintings larger than the average living-room wall.
There was nothing that could not be rendered in oil paint. Silverware, gold, satin, wood-grain, the bloom of a peach, velvet, a tear-filled eye, fur, blood, dew on a leaf, and everywhere…light.
Then I stood in front of Joseph Wright of Derby’s ‘An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump’. There and then I knew that I had to paint. Or at least try.
So began my journey. My first set of oil paints.(Rowney student set). The sensuous thrill of squeezing paint on a pallette, the smell of linseed oil, the seemingly arcane names of each colour, the joy of discovery, and also the tantrums and tears of many failures.
So, once the decision was made, I attended Grimsby School of Art, on a two year Foundation Course.
From here, I spent three years at Wimbledon School of Art. After graduating from here I remained in London for several years, continuing to paint where and when I could, and over several years, worked at the Royal Academy, the National Gallery and finally the National Portrait Gallery. Having met my wife at the RA, we decided to relocate to Devon, and moved to Dawlish in 2005.
The beautiful landscape of Devon, its clear air and space, has re-invigorated my painting and renewed my love of the material of paint, drawing inspiration from the great paint handlers…..Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Sorolla, Bonnard, Sargent amongst others.
I just want to make beautiful paintings that ‘sing’ and leave people moved in a myriad of ways….from joy, to quiet reflection, to bitter-sweet melancholy.
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