Some background about me and my work
My painting career got out of the starting blocks sometime around the turn of the millennium, pre children and when left alone in the house for a couple of weeks. I'd been interested in photography for years which had got me into visiting galleries and being the practical type had often mused on the theme 'I could have done that ...'
The house to myself, I had my opportunity; so it was off to B&Q and the local fabric and art shops for raw materials, a bottle of plonk for creative fuel and then let rip with a palette knife. I made, primed and decorated four large canvases and was well pleased with my efforts (considering). I bought more canvas, stretcher bars and paint and have been painting ever since.
Like many amateurs, I painted until the walls were full, then filled boxes, cupboards and the loft with no clear plan or direction, just accepting compliments from family and friends as they were offered. The game changer for me was moving to Cambridge, and coming across the Cambridge Open Studios organisation. Again the 'I could do that' instinct cut in and when we bought a suitable house I signed up and took part for the first time in 2008.
Participating in Cambridge Open Studios gave a focus to my interest and pushed me into a more professional attitude to my painting bearing in mind it's now painting for public exhibition and sale. I have my regular visitors and enjoy meeting new enthusiasts each year. I put a lot of effort into preparing for the event and have been rewarded with steady year on year growth of sales, but still earn my living as an engineer.
Painting from a very bright palette as I do, some people assume incorrectly that I use acrylics. The truth is that I always paint in oils because from the start I thought oils were what 'proper' artists used. Over time I have grown to love their eccentricities and inconveniences and wouldn't change now. I enjoy the texture of oils, I layer paint very thickly and love the smell of the studio when I'm in the middle of producing a batch of work. My (almost) exclusive use of the palette knife I put down in the main to my watching of the late Nancy Kominsky from the '70s TV show 'Paint along with Nancy' which I watched avidly as a child with my mother, little knowing I would one day wield my own. I enjoy the speed and spontaneity of using a knife and it also has advantages in being faster to clean up after too.
In the main I paint landscapes and seascapes - some representational, some more whimsical. I retain a significant influence from childhood holidays in Norfolk, reinforced by five years living in Norwich with easy access to the Norfolk coast, Southwold and Aldeburgh. Beach huts are a long standing stock in trade for my work and now we've moved inland, there are more agricultural influences in my work - every year I marvel at the vibrancy of the yellow rapeseed fields that surround us, and have painted quite a few, beach huts making way for barns. The open vistas of the Fens have now made an appearance in my work.
I usually work from photographs and I like to lug my camera with me whenever we're out on the offchance I can snap some ideas. My interest in photography predates that of my painting so my compositional instincts tend to be quite photographic. A photo can provide sole reference for a work, but more likely it's just a note to remember an idea or sense of place. Memory, imagination and these days the internet can help with detail and developing it further. Generally I'll ruminate on an idea for a while, then sometimes check the composition with a back of the envelope sketch before diving for the canvas and paints. Please check out the galleries to see examples of my work.