Describe the extent of your talent as an artist:
From my first scribbles with crayons to the discovery of oils and acrylics I know that even now I have a lot still to learn about art. I try to portray the human experience of looking in a different way than I did ten years ago. My work with palette knife and brush works particularly well and gives the painting texture and body. However, I have not abandoned the basics of drawing or the long and boring hours I spent at art school thumbing through book after book on anatomy and I take pleasure most days in drawing the human figure with pencil, charcoal and pen and ink in a purely classical realist manner.
Describe your early memories of your emerging talent as an artist?:
I have always been interested in art ever since I can remember; it has been a life long passion. The sea, landscape and the female form are subjects I paint constantly. I studied under William Turner, whose work is now selling for five figure sums. He taught me to appreciate rich texture in applying paint thickly, without the need for linseed oil or thinners, one brush stroke at a time to the canvas; this has progressed to include palette knives in certain aspects of my work. I attended life class in the 70s and 80s under the tuition of the sculptor, Francoise Lewis and became interested in drawing and painting the human figure; in particular, the female form which I find challenging and rewarding. I also paint landscape and find the moors above Greater Manchester inspirational because of the stark beauty of the Pennines and the ever-changing weather conditions. Everywhere I go, I see something that inspires me to paint, a combination of colours, a certain way a person is standing, a sailing boat out at sea or a cloud formation in the sky. These are feelings I never want to be without and hope to share with anyone who appreciates art.
Nature and the people around me are the two big influences in my art. However, other painters’ art can and does inspire me to new ideas. The female form has a special interest as I find in women an endless source of inspiration. It is not just her nakedness or her nudity that attracts me as an artist to paint her. It is what I see and sometimes what I do not see, but feel, like a smile hidden behind a face that is trying to be serious, or a gesture, or a certain way a woman is standing that makes me want to portray her unique presence in my art. I have said it many times, occasionally the feeling is so strong that my brushes and knife seem to have a life of their own. Then I create a work I even like.
William Adolphe Bouguereau
Abbot Handerson Thayer
Role of figurative art:
Personally, I feel the role of figurative art is to carry on a tradition that started long ago before the Italian Renaissance. I do not mean we should all take a step back in time. However, Art has become silly over the years and my first recollection of it going down the toilet was with Marcel Duchamp’s urinal as art. Because if an unknown artist had tried the same gag he would have been kicked out of the gallery and his urinal with him, end of story. I am not even going to mention a pile of bricks and someone’s unkempt bed; it might all smell fishy enough to be in the same proximity as a rotting shark that should really be at the bottom of the sea and we all know whom to blame but it would do no good in naming and shaming the talentless, and, besides, it would take too long. I believe the role of figurative art should simply be to keep art a skill but progress nevertheless in an original direction and not use it as a commodity for the so-called establishment artists to get rich on and who could not draw or paint if it was to save their lives.
The one I am closest to at the time.
I like reading, poetry and creative writing and I find myself scribbling down anything that comes into my head sometimes. It is a bit like painting; when an artist has a great urge to paint wild horses would not stop him. I like to unwind in front of the TV if there is something interesting to watch which is getting to be a rarity. I like old black and white movies and modern dramas and lots of stuff about artists, dead or alive. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and now I use it more as a visual reminder of a place I want to paint especially through the dark winter months working in the studio.
A one line summation of your relationship to art:
Art is, and so am I, together we make Art.