Here is a little something about me and why I paint. The work should really tell the story so I have kept it to a few short paragraphs.
The trouble with the ordinary is that there is so much of it. When looking at something every day there is a natural tendency not to see it anymore. From there it is a tiny step not to appreciate it. We do this with the place we live, our dearest loved ones and ourselves too.
Most of us are not really that trendy, confident, super rich or deliciously attractive. Most of the world is also like that. Even in spectacular locations such as Venice, if you scratch the surface the same ordinary people are there too. They just happen to be on holiday. I like to look again at all the things we can so easily miss, and celebrate them.
Of course I am not unique in this movement. Stanley Spencer, LS Lowry and Alfred Wallis were masters of it and this is just my small contribution.
I don’t know why but almost all my influences are British. Stanley Spencer being a personal favourite although Walter Sickert and the narratives of William Hogarth are not far behind. Music is also an influence. Often in my market scenes I am looking for something of the flavour of The Beatles ‘Penny Lane: A song that on the surface is rather cheerful, though close beneath there is a definite melancholy.
People and Places
Even though much of my work is architectural, the core influences are all about the people. I couldn’t paint a building or street scene without a population to occupy it and to perform in its space.
The characters in my work are taken from the initial on- site sketches on the day; they are wearing the same clothes and behaving in the manner as I remember.
Process and Perspective
I like to get in front of my subjects “en plein air” if I can. Even in my allotment pictures (which are partly from imagination) the core elements are taken from real allotments. Working on site you get so much more from what you are trying to capture, I also get to chat to passersby who feed into my work with their rich stories and conversation. For me working purely in the studio would be like painting through a letter box.
In regards to perspective, the early part of my career was drawing and airbrushing full 3D cutaways of fighters and ships for the MoD so I know a fair bit about getting perspective right if I need to.
Accurate perspective however is all well and good, although in creative terms it can only deliver so much. I tend to adjust and push things about until it feels right. If that means geometric perspective is abandoned then that’s fine. It’s all about the overall impression.
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