Born in 1969 I was encouraged at a young age to start drawing and painting by reading comics and books. I had an instinctive feeling that this would become part of my life. During my school years the only lesson I looked forward to was art. Upon leaving school I enrolled at my local college to further my academic studies including A’ Level art and design.
In 1989 I decided to study an arts foundation course. This helped me to decide which artistic profession to follow, as the type of studies focused on all disciplines of art. As well as having a love of painting I had a firm interest in design, especially typography and calligraphy. In 1990 I enrolled to study graphic design and luckily for me photography and illustration were part of the college programme so I could incorporate my skills within the course.
Since completing my studies in 1992 I was employed in a variety of jobs, but they did not test my artistic abilities. During that time I was commissioned to do sign writing, magazine illustrations and artwork for computer games. I was also employed in 1995, along with other artists, to design and paint murals for children’s playrooms. The work was varied and involved commissions in Spain.
In 2000 I exhibited my aviation art at the Carrisbrooke gallery, London, with The Guild of Aviation Artists. My work was chosen out of many artists to be highly commended. For me it was a great honor to exhibit my work alongside prolific painters including Gerald Coulson, David Shepard and Keith Woodcock.
After a successful year with my landscapes I began to take an interest in the fine art publishing company Washington Green and having visited them at the Spring Fair in Birmingham in 2003 I was delighted when they showed a great interest in my work. Having my paintings accepted has increased my confidence and progression of my art.
The English Landscape has always been a great love of mine. The West Country where I live is so diverse, from rolling hills to wide open spaces. Each time I observe I envisage endless paintings in my mind. My interest in aviation encourages me to imagine the landscape from the air. This evokes a whole new dimension to viewing the countryside; it creates a feeling of drifting with the clouds looking down upon distant lands.
I am influenced from the ever-changing sky. This began from my childhood days of playing in nearby fields, gazing up at the clouds and admiring their beauty. This inspiration is reflected in my paintings, from summer days to broody storms. The sky conveys to me a sense of escapism and tranquillity.
The only way to capture the atmosphere of the countryside for my paintings is to observe it in the flesh, which is why it is very important for me to venture out into the countryside. I love looking at fields and lakes, especially from a high vantage point where to me the landscape looks awe inspiring.
Everything has to be in place before I start painting. This involves positioning my photographic reference on my drawing table, sorting out the brushes and mixing the varied colours on my palette. When everything is ready and the radio is on I can finally start painting and once I am in painting mode it is difficult to stop especially when I am at the height of that creative buzz.
I am influenced by the technique used by Rembrandt and other master painters.
It involves laying down transparent glazes of colour, creating brilliance and luminosity to the painting.
My preferred medium is oils; this reflects the style of my work. The lengthy drying time enables me to add subtle shades of colour to my skies and being a perfectionist it helps me adjust the painting to its completion. It takes a while for me to start painting as I use such a broad range of colours to mix. Sometimes I even mix them up directly onto the painting! I love experimenting with colour; discovering new shades and hues. I am intrigued by the way the brightest of colours reacts against the darker tones, creating perfect contrast.
I start the day looking at my preliminary drawings and sorting through my own photographic reference, but sometimes an idea can just pop into my head from nowhere. With these ideas in my mind I roughly sketch them out onto the primed panel and begin to paint. I make sure I have frequent breaks; this helps me to stand back from the painting and look at it from a different position. I become so immersed in my work that I forget the time and paint well into the early hours.
I have other varied interests that include music, particularly the Beatles, Space and Astronomy, military aviation and playing the guitar. I enjoy socialising with friends and I am lucky as most of them are artists too, which is great for sharing advice and inspiration. I also have an interest in photography. I use this medium for reference for my paintings. I love travelling around the countryside discovering glorious skies and distant pastures. It’s also good to get away from the studio as it helps me to clear my mind ready for new ideas.