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It wasn't until the autumn of 1997 that I turned professional, dedicating for the first time ever, all of my energy into my art. I held a major one-man retrospective exhibition in the summer of 1998 entitled 'All in a Life's Work', which was a personal selection of paintings representing my artistic journey.
'The Journeyman' was the first of my paintings to combine a character within a street scene. This has led to a new style of subject matter based on street life, whether reflecting everyday happenings or capturing the nostalgia of an industrial age. I like to think there is a poignancy and spirit within these works.
Growing up in Birmingham in the sixties and seventies has given me so many memories to draw upon; it has given me my identity and working class ethic. The working man in my industrial street scenes is an iconic figure reflecting the industrial age, but it could be in any city or any town.
I traveled extensively throughout the U.K. for the majority of 2002. My 'Homes & Hearts' tour launched my work to many galleries across the country, it was an absolute pleasure to meet so many wonderful people, they have become a great source of inspiration to me.
I am constantly pushing myself in new and exciting directions. As well as my drawing and painting I also lecture art to special needs students based within the community. This is a challenging and rewarding addition to my busy life and a chance for me to give something back.
So many ideas and images enter my mind that I have to constantly sketch out these initial images, or make frantic notes for future reference; this may include costume design, character detail or background scenes. The painting may be inspired by words, such as a Shakespearian theme or even based on my own poetry or short stories. Working and playing with these ideas and inspirations is critical to the success of any of my paintings. I do little preparatory work, as I like to throw myself into the actual painting, full of enthusiasm and working from my imagination as much as possible.
Having chosen my subject matter I do a brief sketch, working out a strong composition and design, I also look at the colour scheme giving myself an impression of how the final painting may look. I work on grey pastel paper, which I mount onto board; this allows me full control of the tonal values. I use a variety of different pastels, blending and drawing on the surface of the paper, creating the vibrancy of colour or atmosphere inherent in my work.
You give part of yourself in every painting you produce, each image stands or falls on its own merits. I try to produce the best I can at any given time, I assess and reassess the painting at various stages. I prepare a temporary mount, to get a feel of how the painting will look in the gallery. On completion I have a great sense of achievement in creating something from nothing - from a world of imagination.