July Open Studios
Born in 1971 and raised all over England, one of six children and currently living in Cambridge. After leaving Camberwell, where I almost completed a foundation, I abandoned art altogether and concentrated instead on crafts, living in a truck in the woods and gently regenerating derelict coppice. I worked for years as a decorator and finally started painting portraits full time around the turn of the century.
My painting is decidedly native. Freud, Auerbach and Bacon are my favourite painters and I have an endless love for Rembrandt. Along with motorbikes and collie dogs I have a keen interest in photography and thouroughly enjoy that element of my portrait work. I insist on starting a new commission from a fantastic photo and work hard to get just that.
While I take great care to produce a recognisable likeness in a portrait, the landscapes are painted from my imagination. Where a portrait requires a carefully composed photograph as a starting point, lighting, pose and expression all being considered before I make a start on the canvas, my landscapes evolve as experiments in light, colour and form. The two disciplines complement one another and allow me to indulge in the malleability of oil paint, to experiment with colour and discover afresh how our eyes make sense of what we see.
Although it represents a fixed moment in a subjects life, a portrait will often expose youth and old age at the same time. Clients often remark on hitherto unseen family resemblances, too. Despite a photograph being instantaneous, the process of studying and re-working a face in oil paint produces a layered and complex expression that allows us to have an encounter with the sitter. When painting landscapes this feeling of being there can be frustratingly elusive until the last brush stroke, which will suddenly render a place, half remembered and in fleeting light, fixed forever in the oil.