I was born in a small town in Nottinghamshire in the late sixties. Moving to rural Shropshire, my childhood was spent in meadows and alongside rivers, a deep connection with nature and the place where I began making my first drawings.
Studying art foundation at Shrewsbury College and a BA in Fine Art at Birmingham School of Art, my path to becoming a painter was by no means a linear one. Spending my early adult life in London, I soon found my fellow artists and models in the then empty buildings in Spitalfields. It was here I discovered my love of the human form. The life drawing sessions were many and the real lessons began when I met Eric Morby, a wonderful teacher of Cornish origins and the only man I’d ever met who could tuck his beard into his belt.
Portraiture was the natural progression for me. A challenging discipline and one that perhaps evokes thoughts of tradition and history rather than one of contemporary art. The portrait, however, is as popular as ever, using all manner of media, I believe it demands its existence more than ever before.
For a portrait to be successful it requires several elements that must balance in harmony, a sometimes elusive proposition. More often than not the sitter will desire the outcome to have a strong physical resemblance. As the artist I am looking for much more and it is only through the communication between sitter and artist that this can be found. It is the story that generates the painting, not just capturing the characteristics but what is being invoked and communicated emotionally. As the painter my interest lies in the portrait also being successful as a piece of art. How others will respond to the painting is very different to how the sitter responds. Balancing these elements challenges me in every painting I do.
Alongside commissions I work on my own projects. After working almost exclusively as a commission artist for the last 15 years, this personal work is now demanding more time. People remain a centre point in my work, however, there is a narrative, added dimensions that generally a portrait does not have or require.
What interests me most is the retelling of a story, a life. Themes that are interconnected over time but changing in perspective. The interpretation of humanism and transnational feminism - looking at the issues of the world through a global perspective. Finding the right metaphors or allegories that carry the messages, questions and provocations keeps the doors to my creativity open.
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