I can recall that back in junior school when a school play or large project loomed I was usually quite heavily involved in the artistry. It was clear that I had natural ability but it remained undeveloped until much later.
Having an interest in architecture and design it seemed natural that the early part of my career should concentrate on Interior Design. I chose to combine real life experience with formal training. I worked at several companies as Interior Designer/ Architectural Technician designing the dťcor and furnishing for pubs and clubs for Ansells and Rank Leisure. Later I became involved in the development of the Birmingham International Convention and Birmingham National Exhibition Centre.
Whilst I enjoyed my work I recognised that although there was a creative element involved I still had to work to someone elseís pre-defined scope. In other words, my job lacked the artistic freedom I craved.
With some encouragement from friends and family I approached a local gallery who agreed to exhibit my work. My confidence grew with each piece I sold.
Sometimes my inspiration comes from something tangible and others itís hard to pinpoint from quite where the idea has arisen. If I were to choose a favourite artist then it would most certainly be Monet but I would not site him as an influence.
Generally colours seem to be my strongest influence. They can range from vivid colours in a sunset which may be used in an abstract or the colour of a much loved pair of shoes which help to form a landscape. The inspiration itself rarely mirrors the final subject.
Maybe because of the constraints that I worked under previously in a more formal setting my later works have a greater freedom and lucidity. When painting a specific subject if it begins to evolve into something more spectacular then I will switch to work with the new theme. The more creative I allow myself to be the more pleasurable I find my work.
Itís a rare exception when I leave the house without my notebook. I use it to jot down colour combinations that appear in nature such as in cloud formations or in the reflection of sunlit buildings. When you take the time to study the range of remarkable colours involved this can be somewhat inspirational.
I donít categorise myself as an artist of one specific subject or medium. To paint I generally use a combination of fingers, brushes and knives. Depending on the intensity of colour and fluidity required I use either acrylic or oil. Sometimes Iíll accentuate with gold leaf or crackle glaze, whatever it takes to feel satisfied with the result.
None of my work is ever pre-drawn. Instead paint is built up sometimes slowly and other times frenetically enabling certain areas of the painting to take on a greater intensity.
Iím careful not to overwork any piece. If Iím not happy with it I simply start again. Stepping back and looking at the picture with fresh eyes enables me to appreciate the subtleties of the painting. Surprisingly itís not always the central subject that builds the picture but the detail surrounding it.
I tend to start work at around 5am if the light is good. This enables me to focus whilst my daughter sleeps. Once she wakes bedlam reigns so weíll find something to do together. I love being outdoors and weíll often go for long walks to the park or feed the ducks. My notebook is always close to hand so Iíll stop to fill it with information for later use. I quickly learnt to carry a spare set for my daughter because she likes to sit beside me and make sketches of her own.
Sometimes, when I am working on a new piece its difficult to sleep at night because I am visualising the direction I want to take. Iíve learnt that at this point, itís far better to return to my easel and continue until Iím satisfied that Iíve achieved all I want to.