My days start early and I am out at 6am no matter what the weather is up to. I’m out there before everyone else. I like to be by myself, alone, alert and quiet. Every day I walk miles into the forest or along the coast with my dogs. No one day ever seems the same to me, the landscape is always changing with the weather and the light creates so many variations that I am never short of inspiration or ideas. The Dorset coastline and countryside is fertile ground for me to dream up paintings and there is no doubt that it fills my work. Though I am not concerned with trying to re create it in any representational way. I paint about shadows in dark woods, about the changing light falling onto the sea, about abandoned structures. Isolated and unloved places that have a story to tell or a bright sunny room bathed in light with jars and pots throwing shadows making seductive shapes in glorious colour. All these things fill my imagination and I paint and invent from my inner world perspective.
The winter mornings before dawn I am often out before the frost has settled. It is pitch black, the owl calls and the forest wakes as I walk, I am seen by deer, fox and badger before they settled down for the day. The light begins and woodland shadows slowly reveal the new day. The frost crackles as it settles, the silence and mystery of nature will always fill me with awe. I love it and feel at one with it. Sometimes dawn is the very best light that you will see in the dark short winter days.
And then there are dreams; Dreamboats leaving a harbour to deliver our dreams at night. A quiet dream. In the painting I have to be forgiven for the inaccuracy of the vessels… my dream didn’t pay too much attention to that. There is a shipwreck too that is a dream of broken promises. So this painting is now ‘The Harbour of Dreams’ and it is a memory for me to share.
‘The Discovery’ is about shipwrecks; which can now be detected at the bottom of the ocean through sonar. The ships and their crews have lain at the bottom of the ocean for hundreds of years. I find this amazing and fascinating so I paint about it.
‘Breakwater Fort’ is about the old abandoned fort at Portland near where I live, it is just left to battle the elements. It’s a ghostly ruin of a place and I love it.
So although I can dream up all sorts of stories as to where my ideas for a painting germinate, which are sometimes even a mystery to myself, it is my training and discipline as a painter that seem to kick-in and dominate. I do have a need for order, which drives me to create balance and simplification by abstraction. Oil paint is my medium of choice. Working up surfaces in deep rich tones, creating shapes contrasting with light open space seem to enable me to communicate the visions of my own inner world.
Certainly my studio is my favourite place to be and if I’m not out walking, I don’t really want to be anywhere else.