I am an ex-firefighter turned painter working as a freelance artist for six years since my retirement from the Service.Already well known locally my wider reputation is beginning to attract critical acclaim with submissions to professional competitions regularly being shortlisted. Examples of my work are currently on display in Derbyshire at Whitepeaks Fine Art Gallery, Dunston, Chesterfield, Cromford Gallery, Market Place Cromford and Leabrooks Gallery, Leabrooks.
I was born and brought up in the north east of Derbyshire in the 1950's and 60's. Creating images has always been a form of escapism and I developed a love of painting & drawing from an early age. Art has become a private passion I've carried with me ever since. After university in Birmingham and a brief spell in finance I joined the fire & rescue service, a career I completed 30+ years later in 2007. I only turned fully to painting from 2008 after I left the fire service and found time to devote to it.
Painting is a kind of ecstasy, an intense & personal struggle to bring to life on canvas a private world of accumulated visual memory. It can be exhausting and exhilerating at one and the same time. I like to exhibit and sell my work.... but it's not why I paint; it never was. Painting for me just calms the soul. It's my private world.
There is a feeling of immediacy, of life, of connectedness with painting that I don't get from anything else, so I feel I have to paint. It's hard wired into me. I would describe myself as a modern traditionalist painter. I paint anything from portraits to landscapes, figures to abstracts. But it's a moving feast , I don't stand still. At the moment my work is exploring the overlap between abstract and realism and the ways this manifests itself in the boundary areas that exist between and define shape and form. There is much in this that affects the way one sees the world. My compulsion to produce art is an emotional response to colour and form, but I'm also influenced by light and atmosphere in the things around me. How inspiration occurs and what triggers it is the key to the variety in my work. Specific subject matter is much less important for me than its emotional content at a purely aesthetic level.I'm not drawn especially to specific things such as boats or figures, or buildings or any whole thing. Rather I find I can be attracted to bits of anything - the shape of a hat, the way a shadow lies across an object tantalisingly concealing it, a glint of light or an unexpected but delightful bit of colour. In my experience such things are very rarely comprised in the whole of something. There is an inner beauty, a sort of "heroic" quality inside everything if you look hard enough - it doesn't have to be something intrinsically pretty, or attractive or especially worthy of attention. quite often it is better if it isn't.
I try to use colour and my love of form to raise the spirits. One of my abiding hopes is that art can, like music, serve to engender a greater sense of wellbeing - in observer and creator alike. I believe that art at it's best can be a simple, joyful experience as well as a vehicle for asking fundamental questions about what it is to be human.