I enjoy working in a range of media including pencil, charcoal, watercolour and oils. I like the fineness of pencil, the dramatic immediacy of charcoal, the difficult delicacy of watercolour and the sumptuous richness of oils. The subjects I like most are portraits. Portraits of people young and old, portraits of animals both domestic and wild, and portraits of trees. Yes, I do portraits of trees! I have a particular love of trees and often find expressions of personality, emotion and movement in them. Hence I approach the painting of these characters in much the same way as I do the painting of human or animal portraits, searching out the unique features and expressions that make them special individuals.
I also love landscapes, especially the rugged crags and peaks of the North country where I grew up and the beautiful British coastline from Lands End to John o' Groats. I studied garden design at Capel Manor in Enfield and one of the key principles I learned was to seek out the 'genius loci' or 'spirit of the place', when scoping out a potential garden design. For me as an artist, the same holds true for the painting of landscapes. I first seek out the 'genius loci' and then try to allow it to come through the medium of paint or charcoal, shaping the forms and driving the colour choices.
Sometimes a story or historical event will move me to search for a representative image from which I can fashion a nuanced painting. Examples in my gallery include the water colour painting "On the Island of Infinite Tears - Spinalonga Ruins', which was inspired by my reading of Victoria Hislop's book 'The Island', about the leper colony of Spinalonga. The palm tree embodies the imprisonment of the lepers, trapped within their transforming bodies and isolated from society on the fortress island of Spinalonga. Another such subject is the mixed media painting 'Peril and Grief in Seville 1936' which depicts the horror unleashed there on Day Three of the Spanish Civil War 1936. The painting is based on a black and white contemporaneous photograph published in the Diario de Sevilla on 15 August 2011 in an article marking the 75th anniversary of the coup that began the Civil War. The painting combines watercolour and charcoal to capture the ambience of old Seville but also introduces colour, notably the red of the spilled blood, to emphasise the brutality of the scene.