A bit about me: Again and again I find myself drawn to places of ancient settlement. They appear to have some mysterious story to tell, and perhaps this is the ‘sense of place’ I strive to communicate in my painting.
Although I have had occasional opportunities to study, my painting techniques have been mostly self-taught, aside from an invaluable session on ‘negative space’ at teacher training college, and some welcome comments from John Davie at the same college, who taught me how to make my work ‘fly’! It is due to him that I still paint now!
It is only slowly and painfully I have gained the confidence to paint as I do now!
An early sight of the Graham Sutherland Pembrokeshire painting of the “Entrance to a Lane” has been a huge influence, always at the back of my mind, commanding me to invite the viewer to enter and participate in my paintings.
In my twenties and thirties I possessed just two paintbrushes, a flat sable and a fine round sable, and with these I experimented and honed some kind of brush technique, revelling in luscious gouache colours, but feeling very much in the dark about what I should be doing.
Then, a few years ago I discovered a wonderful book about painting: “A Light Touch”, by David Curtis – definitely it should NOT have been going for a song in a flea market, but the lessons I learned from it transformed my colour palette for the better!
My favourite subjects: I have always loved drawing and painting animals, but my main interest is landscape, and man’s marks upon it.
For fifteen wonderful years I was the proud owner of a studio in Todmorden, so got to know the area well. My very first one-man show took the form of a retrospective in 1997, at Red Water Arts in Calderdale. I was awarded it on the strength of a huge savoy cabbage, painted on a sheet of paper covering a wall during a local community project!
For quite a number of years I exhibited regularly at the Hebden Bridge Arts festival, a vibrant local annual arts event. Now I still work a great deal in West Yorkshire, and this area remains a strong pull. More recently I found myself experimenting with making huge puppets!
My top painting tip: Don’t touch purist watercolour techniques until you are confident about the result you want to achieve. Keep a ‘doesn’t matter’ sketchbook!
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