We know that the earliest humans made images—although we don’t know what for—and we, their descendants, continue to paint and to seek out paintings by others. Despite the plethora of photographic images widely available today, the painted image still inspires a particular fascination.
It’s a fascination I have long shared. From the age of fifteen—which seems unusually young with hindsight—I have painted outdoors, en plein air.
Like many artists, I’ve honed my working process—how to make observation into representation—over years of trial and error. Now I begin with large-scale drawings—to prevent me from being drawn into too much detail—followed by small-scale watercolour studies; and then, when I’m ready for a fuller understanding of the subject, a plein air oil painting.
Back in the studio all this gathered information—of composition, tone, colour—comes together into a painting which gradually takes on its own life and direction, becoming more than the sum of its parts. The work is not too descriptive but it shouldn’t be too abstract either: the viewer should be left in little doubt as to what has fascinated and obsessed me as an artist.
The clear water of the Hampshire rivers and streams is unique. It reflects and refracts simultaneously; one minute the gravel-strewn chalk bed looks like a path, the next, distorted by water currents or gentle breezes, it becomes a kaleidoscope of colour, reflecting leaves and sky.
It is, of course, impossible to represent in paint! But my obsession with it shows no signs of abating. And so my struggle to communicate the particular beauty of this part of the planet continues.
Manchester University 1964 – 1969
Newlyn School Art Mentoring Course 2015 – 2016
Canopy 2016 Cornwall
National Open Art London 2017
Studios. Roseland, Cornwall | Owslebury, Hampshire