Friday, 5 June 2015

RWA Secret Postcard Auction

The RWA Secret Postcard auction took place last night and I no longer need to be discreet. I contributed the following painting–'Paradise Garden'. The title came whilst listening to a radio drama on the early 20th century, British composer William Baines. He wrote a piece for the piano called 'Paradise Gardens'. The painting is not based on his music but, whilst searching for a title, it came to mind and seemed appropriate. The additional gouache and watercolour image, painted in situ at Bath Priory Hotel Kitchen Gardens, was completed in the same week and was another 'option' for the same RWA event. Though both paintings are landscapes they are demonstrably different. I like to think of them as two sides of the same coin. One is referential (though not accurate), the other transformational utilising sketchbook references, memory and imagination. The act of painting always asks the artist to consider the order and weight of colour, shape and mark–what to leave in and what to leave out. The final piece is the summation of intent through those choices.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Bridgeman Studio Featured Artist

This June 2015 I am being featured as the Bridgeman Studio Artist of the month. Some images under rights management sit alongside my answers to a few questions. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Student daze

Revisiting student work via old photos is strange. It seems like a 'lifetime' ago. I don't hanker after times past and tend not to feel deep pangs of nostalgia. What I do cherish, when looking back, is the privilege of three concentrated years of working. It created momentum that lead to substantial growth. This is some transitional work from my second year and helped secure a small bursary to travel to Venice.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Little Carving

And so it was–A hot, late summer's day in 1986. I was sojourning with my mum and dad in Italy, post degree, and contemplating a future that seemed daunting rather than welcoming. I had some time on my hands, no fixed plan and I was tinkering around with a few ideas whilst helping here and there with a bit of building work, olive harvesting etc. One morning, armed with a hacksaw, a rather blunt pen knife and with a small, scruffy off cut of wood to hand I spent some time carving this little piece. The figure was based on the stereotypical sturdy, Italian small-holder. Originally, he was carrying a sack over his shoulder and back. Its crude execution and lack of artifice has always meant something to me. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015


This small, rather scruffy little corner of my parents' garden was a subject painted repeatedly for a while. This late winter rendition provokes memories real and imagined. My parents still live in the adjacent house and tend the garden but time is passing and they are older. Somehow this image holds distant echoes of time gone by. As I look at the painting I can 'hear' some sounds that never took place here but tie me in to our collective family history. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Roofs of Ripa

When I graduated in 1986 I decamped to Italy for 2 months to stay with my parents, who were living there at the time. I continued to draw, paint and even attempted a little crude 'whittling' (which I loved doing). This pastel on tinted paper of the roofs of Ripa Teatina remains with me. I know that the geometry of rooftops provide a fantastic opportunity to construct a work. This artwork is referential but it could have been the basis for exploring the way a painting exists between the object first seen and the process of constructing a painting in its own right – in terms of form and colour. Freeing the work from strict observational constraints sets up a dynamic relationship that is resolved only in the process of making.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

To Walk, To Run

I love to walk, I love to run. In fact, I have this recurring fantasy that one day I'll start walking and not stop. It isn't an escapist fantasy, though there are days when the minutiae of life becomes frustratingly burdensome and to walk is a relief. And, I love my family and every return home. To walk, to run is more about the experience. Its repetition becomes a small act of pilgrimage. Nor is every walk about covering a literal distance. Artists know that painting is a continuing trail and its end point is not finite. 

This small pastel painting of a lighthouse marks a point on the way.