I''ve had no formal training as such, although I did spend a year at Winchester Art School completing a Foundation Course. This left me completely disillusioned; I didn''t need to go to art school to learn how to express myself by throwing a load of paint about, so I left and got a ''proper job''! I then spent years feeling unfulfilled and frustrated with myself and the longer time went on the stronger these feelings got. Until finally, my partner persuaded me to sign up for a life drawing class, and that was it... the rest is history as they say! I''d found my Grail!
I''m a very methodical person and so decided to spend the next few years learning my trade and equipping myself with the tools that I would need to express myself through my work. Through trial and a great deal of error I found my way to wherever it is that I and my work are at today. I feel honoured to be showing with the Belgravia Gallery in London and for my drawings to be hanging there next to such great masters as Rembrandt and Picasso.
I try not to analyse what I''m drawing too much as I prefer to work instinctively. Usually I will begin each piece from a life model, so she will be my initial inspiration. Lighting is really important to me in my work. I love to use really strong directional light which creates mood and drama. I have a pared down approach to drawing; I don''t like to overcomplicate things with props or backgrounds. I want to sharpen the focus on the elegance and natural beauty of the female form. I always say "my works are never narratives; merely moments", and this can be said to be true through all of the themes that I pursue in my work. The sheer beauty of a single line; the way the light plays on her hair; the feelings conveyed by her body language in an unguarded moment. These are things that inspire me time and time again. Sometimes a sense of peace or misery, the million different emotions that make up human nature, every one of them interests and inspires me.
I recently had fabric bought to my attention, which is something that I was never really that interested in before. I was commissioned to draw the collection of Lindka Cierach, the couture designer for London fashion week. Can you imagine all of those beautiful clothes; the colours the lines? I died and went to Heaven!
The ''Ballroom Series'' was inspired by my memories of watching ''Come Dancing'' as a child on my 4th hand black and white portable TV. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me now), the set could only pick up BBC2 and so I became mesmerised by the amazingly glamorous couples that Angela Rippon introduced on the show. The way that they seemed to move so completely together, communicating only through body language and such grace (the hours they spent practicing never even occurred to me!) They were unlike any women I had ever seen before. Sorry mum, but you were the more ''groovy'' type! So many years later my ballroom drawings were born on a Sunday afternoon when I was just playing around with some photographs that I had taken a year or so earlier. I wanted to make the images blurred as they would be through both time and the motion of the actual dance, like an old movie still maybe, or as one fleeting moment moves on to the next. The mostly monochrome palette gives them a sense of time passed just as I see those images in my memory.
I love the immediacy of working with charcoal and pastel and being able to move the image around with your hands, nothing coming between the paper and you creating. I try not to consolidate the image too early, rather just let it emerge slowly onto the paper - kind of like conducting an orchestra. I mean you wouldn''t usually want to go straight in there with all your drums and cymbals crashing would you! You maybe start quietly with a couple or violins and build up slowly. Well drawing is the same for me.
When I have a model I will begin many drawings, but prefer to finish them later after she has gone. I find I can work on them in a more creative and uninhibited way when I have only the started piece in front of me and no reference, but I do need her initial presence to get the ''bones'' of the work down and of course for her inspiration. So many of my drawings fail, but I have found that by working on a number of things simultaneously I am not afraid to experiment and therefore do not become precious about a particular piece as it starts its inevitable journey to the bin!
I''m not what you''d call a morning person and my creative juices are certainly not flowing before 10am! The first thing I''ll do when I go into the studio is organise my music. Anything that''s done with feeling, I need my music to create the mood that I will be working too.
During the morning I''ll be working on parts of drawings that require a more studied approach. So for example if I have a commission under way then it will be the face and creating a likeness that I will be trying to capture. Then as the day goes on, and the music gets louder, I''ll begin to work more freely and the work becomes looser – well that''s the idea anyway! Sometimes when I''m lucky I''ll work almost subconsciously and this is when both the best drawings and worst failures occur. I go on the most incredible creative journeys and I have learnt from them that it is actually OK to fail now and again as it is a very good way of learning.
Apart from my work I have no life! (according to family and few friends). This is great as I want no distractions (apart from travel), as what I do is all consuming. I constantly strive to become the artist that I know I have the potential to be. Nothing I do is ever good enough and there is always another precious moment that I just have to get down on paper, so there are quite honestly never enough hours in the day for me!