“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo
Selfie with Julie on Holy Island
Painting on Hadrian's Wall at Crag Lough.
I spent my first eighteen years living in various outposts of the retreating British Empire with my family, as my Father was in the R.A.F, including Singapore, Aden, Cyprus, Germany and many parts of England, before settling in the north east of England. After eighteen years in Newcastle my wife Julie and I moved to an old farmhouse near Allendale in the North Pennines where we lived for fourteen years raising five free range children and a menagerie of animals. When they became teenagers we moved to the market town of Hexham nearby, where we now live.
I studied graphic design at Lincoln College of Art from 1976 then worked as a graphic designer in Newcastle. However I was pulled towards visual art and did a degree in Creative and Performing Arts at Northumbria University specialising in printmaking, graduating with a 2:1 degree in 1984. I have been a self-employed artist since 1986. For many years I was also a part time lecturer at Newcastle College where I ran the HNC in Fine Art, as well as other courses and colleges in the North East.
I exhibit in London, Newcastle and Northumberland and often work to commission. I have paintings in many private and corporate collections in Britain and abroad, including that of the Royal Family, Lord Dearing, Sir Peter Carr, Sir John Hall, Cherie and Tony Blair, Northern Rock, Barclays Bank and Northumberland Water.
Other interests have included reading widely, travel, playing sports for forty years and playing guitar and singing in various bands from time to time.
I like to paint from life as much as possible to absorb the subject fully and enjoy the experience more, whatever it brings. I am interested in drawing and painting a variety of subjects, the usual ones being people, places and things. These are standard fare for the figurative painter, but endlessly fascinating. Just as important as the subject that you choose is how you paint it; the composition, colour, tone, edges, marks and other formal elements which figurative and abstract painting have in common are endlessly open to interpretation and lucky accidents.
A figurative painting needs to operate on two levels to work, in my opinion. From a distance the subject can dominate, but viewed up close the subject should dissolve and the physical and sensual nature of the paint should take over and become it's own subject. A painting works best when the two perceptions fuse together as one and reinforce each other.
I paint things which interest me, for whatever reason. I try to be as open to the subject as possible and not project preconceived or fashionable ideas onto it. With that approach much that I didn't know is often revealed and all subjects are interesting and fresh.