I'm a painter above all things. I love to explore the shapes, the light, the colours and tones of things in my life, usually the places, buildings and people that make an impact on me and stimulate me. The way I do this can be with one of many mediums although, Oil and Watercolour absorb me the most.
A sketchbook is never far from me and in recent years I've developed watercolour not only as a sketching tool but as a main painting medium, I often cleanse my mind from the sense of clutter built up elsewhere and enjoy the freshness of watercolour and the way it can work on its own before my eyes. Watercolour painting can be a bit of a white knuckle ride and there are vital sections where I literally hold my breath to work through and get them just right.
Oil painting is an obsession for me, my 'happy place' is thinking about squeezing rich oil colour from a tube and onto my palette. My process involves staining my canvas, I draw in my basic composition and start to form colour shapes and strengths. I use a variety of mark making tools apart from brushes, including palette knives, cutlery and kebab skewers to add texture and interest. I tend to paint 'alla prima' meaning, I like to get the main painting down in one fully absorbed session. This involves me tuning out from everything around me apart from my subject, I often 'wake up' looking at a painting that seems to have just appeared after some kind of outer body experience.
Studio work goes hand in hand with plein air painting. The studio is a safe and comfortable environment and is extremely good for very large paintings and when I need concentration. My plein air experiences are often extreme and I can stand all weathers and temperatures. When in the field I set up a 'fishing shelter' and dress in many layers when cold. I make a day of it where possible, my dog is always with me and I even cook meals on a little stove while on location.
Lately, I've been invited by many art groups and societies to run painting workshops and thoroughly enjoyed each one. It's been quite a privilege to see people develop and find the comfort in painting that has been with me all of my life. Painting can be very private but I connect well with people and can easily discuss my work while painting which is why the experience of painting on stage before an audience, on YouTube or on Sky TV is so stimulating to me.
I have also set up a framing workshop and finish my pieces by hand. Some frames are gessoed and gilded while others have beautiful mouldings and slips to enhance their impact on the viewer. Framing makes the work complete while seeing the whole process through, witnessing and influencing the fresh new canvas through its transformation to something beautiful and ready to hang on a wall and be cherished.