I studied Art and Design at Leeds and Leicester, but early in my lecturing career I decided to leave the world of education and focus on my own work. I have always been driven by a desire to paint and create. In fact, I can't remember a time, a holiday, even a day, when I haven't felt compelled to use the environment around me to make something. Probably the golf course is the one place that's escaped!
I like to combine contrasting forms; decoration with plain colour, the media of paint and photograph, abstract and symbolic images to create landscapes simultaneously rooted in the actual places I've visited, but translated into the imaginary, alive with primitive references. My paintings are often huge in scale, others are more modest in size.
My work has featured on the Arts television programme 'Folio' and I've exhibited in Bonn, Cologne, Edinburgh and London as well as locally in Suffolk.
The Rose Chapel Studio in Hadleigh, Suffolk, a converted chapel is both my home and studio. No longer a place of religious worship, it's a place of tranquility and for me is still resonant with the voices, prayers, thoughts of those in the past who have aspired to connect with another reality.
What I do...
I've always loved wild, desolate places where the human imprint has been dwarfed by the innate power of the landscape. I know this isn't unusual. And I think now, today, in our beleagured and pressurised society, places like Barra in the Outer Hebrides, the raw coastline of Suffolk, forests of the Borders and Hampshire, Greek islands which have escaped the tide of tourism... all the places I love and have painted in, are felt by many people as a point of connection not only with their inner selves, but with a deep power which links us to the web of life and expands our consciousness of the magic and mystery of the non human world of which we are just a small part.
I feel this immediately when I step off the plane at Barra's unique beach airport, a landing dictated by the tide, like many other things on this island. Consequently, many of my recent pieces of work have been created here.
I'm drawn repeatedly to the kinetic canvas of coast, forest, mountains, sea and sky as the starting point for my work. I need to be there, to soak up all the sensations of a moment, to step outside human history and clock time.
Colour is a main key to my work. Vivid, vibrant, dazzling and everchanging through the shifting patterns of sunlight and shade, as Delvaux said, 'I want my colours to sing.'
I paint usually using chalk pastels on wood, rock or sand, even snow. For the the images and symbols create, a point of entrance into my journey inwards, the catalyst for my sense of connection with a place. My totem poles, rooted to the earth, aspiring to the sky and beyond, are a reference to North American Indians, a culture which embraced the magic of the natural world.
I produce a series of photographs which I then assemble to form a vivid montage of a moment in time, ultimately a celebration, an act of homage to the mystery of life.
At the heart of my work is the paradox that time creates for us as humans - maybe the only species aware that we are 'beings in time' - my work on canvas, in print is simultaneously fixed and permanent, yet my imprint on the landscape is ephemeral, transient Sun, wind, rain, tide - the irrevesible, elemental forces which timelessly craft, shape and sculpt our world, finally erode all marks.