Born in Australia, raised in England and residing most of my adult life in Sydney, Australia, my lifelong love of art began during early childhood, with many hours spent sketching and painting in a disused caravan on our family farm. I enjoyed watching my mother, also an artist, working with paint and pastels — creativity was always encouraged in our home and there was no shortage of inspiration. In the early 1990s, my mother and her partner converted their Sussex oast house into an art gallery where local artists and sculptors could show their work.
I have always been passionate about birds and wildlife and also have an avid interest in history — in particular, Victorian and Edwardian architecture — and these have provided my most compelling subjects and driven me to draw.
My love of birds started as early as I can remember. My mother was a member of the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and signed me up as a member of the YOC (Young Ornithologists Club) and I used to eagerly await each month’s A5 Bird Life magazine to arrive in the post — I still have my treasured YOC member's badge! As a child I used to love leafing through Mum's Reader's Digest Book of British Birds and I later learned that there were bird lovers on the Australian side of my family too. Perhaps most thrilling of all was finding a rare copy of Popular British Ornithology, published in 1853, written and illustrated by English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, grandfather of artist Sylvia Gosse, both of whom I am distantly, but proudly, related to.
My career began in graphic design, initially as a school leaver at a letterpress print company, where I was trained in the traditional art of hand typesetting with lead fonts and hand mixing inks to Pantone specifications. It was here that I developed a love of letters and dedicated much of my spare time to signwriting projects. Inevitably, my career progressed to graphic art — the era of Cow Gum and Letraset! — and then, in the early 90s, I reluctantly transitioned to Apple, back when they were a universal beige with black and white screens, in contrast to today's gorgeous and powerful iMacs and MacBooks!
Painting thrills me. The process is completely immersive and full of surprises, with unexpected revelations in colour and texture as a work unfolds. I love to observe the beauty and delicacy of often overlooked objects, visually dissecting and interpreting them on canvas in my own style. As Frédéric Chopin concluded about music, “Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” With my simple depictions, I hope to inspire others to recognise that beauty is all around us.
My preferred media are acrylic, gouache and pencil and my style is usually strong in colour and sharp in detail.
My favourite artists and influences are: Jeffrey Smart, Elizabeth Gould, Eliot Hodgkin, Sybil Andrews, Arthur Rackham, Tony Meeuwissen... amongst many others!
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