"I have tried many times in writing artist's statements to explain how overriding is my attention to the compositional abstract design when I am working, though I find it difficult to explain in words the painting process.
Developing one's skill at representation is a bit like training for a sport, one just gets better till one hits one's own barriers. However art is far more complex than honing a skill; by stepping back from representation all sorts of paths open up for exploration.
In downplaying the importance of the image an artist encounters all manner of new problems that representation can disguise or minimise. One becomes more aware that one is managing relationships between marks, dynamics, and colours. Painting becomes no longer the act of picture-making, it starts to resemble choreography of abstract elements - this creates its own aesthetic..
Every paint-mark I put down has its effect on, and is effected by, the other marks already there within the canvas rectangle; I make little attempt at making these marks the building-blocks of a recognisable image, yet to my constant surprise by managing the dynamics of the composition and the colour relationships for the marks I put down the image appears by itself over time. Detail seems unnecessary for the experience of being in front of the subject be it outdoors or in the studio with a still life set-up; this I am sure is closer to how we perceive actuality.
The magical yin-yang tension between the abstract construction of coloured marks and the image for me is one of the most important elements in painting, yet the hardest to convincingly achieve without one eclipsing the other."
My schooling was at St George’s, Harpenden, England. There I was fortunate to have had a great art teacher who set me on my way, he taught me to start exploring the intellectual elements in painting.
I went to art schools at St Albans and Liverpool, where I obtained my degree. At Foundation course I had two inspirational tutors, one taught me to question, the other the passion. At my degree course my tutor thought I had no talent and kept telling me so – this was a challenge and taught me the anger needed to survive.
Four years at art school seemed enough, I was anxious to get out and paint in the real world away from the apathy of art students, so I rejected the idea of a post-graduate course. Instead I worked on a series of large landscapes in London for two years.
I returned to St Albans Art School to teach life drawing for three years.
In 1979 I went to Italy to paint full time, working on landscapes near Siena and trying to learn more about light and colour.
In 1997 I moved to Catalonia to work from a different landscape. There I also developed still life further, this I have always considered an intense & controllable discipline, the still lifes turned more and more into flower studies because of the importance of colour therein.
Since 2013 I have been based in Hawkhurst, Kent; after working in Italy and Spain it has been interesting concentrating on the English landscape.