I have been drawing in one form or another since I could pick up a pencil. I also had a chalk board and from time to time I showed my sister’s friends how to draw Disney characters. I was less self-conscious then. By nine I was on the front page of the local paper sketching Gipsy Moth IV as it visited ports around the UK after Francis Chichester’s circumnavigation of the world.
By the time university was a possibility, I was guided by family and friends away from art college and went to The Welsh School of Architecture. I continued to draw both technically and sketched when time allowed. There then followed two decades of professional practice in London, Bath, Frome, Yeovil and Oxford at two practices. At both I worked my way up from project architect to an associate and in one case to Partner and then director. Whilst work was varied; from a mosque to schools and hospitals, drawing became less and less and paperwork and meetings more and more and as computers also began to surpass even the drawing element, I decided enough was enough.
It was 1999 and after veering off on a number of tangents, I got to know a very generous and inspiring gallery owner. My wife and I had bought several paintings from his gallery which he had also framed. So, I gave him two of my charcoals to frame, secretly hoping he would like them. I got a phone call a couple of days later apologising that he had sold one of them and couldn’t get it back and ever since he has had a large number of my paintings passing through his gallery and continues to frame my work. He has introduced me to other gallery owners and constantly reminds me that; ‘you are on a journey my boy.’
On the journey so far, I kept the first ten years on a completely local footing as I continued to think of myself as an architect and not an artist. To begin to change this, I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone by following up invitations to exhibit in various local galleries, set up one-man exhibitions and finally got up the courage to send work to local open society exhibitions, mainly The RWA and The Bath Society. A mixture of success and failure did not dampen confidence too much but to this day failure does not help with my battles with depression.
I have found that with the two vocations that have drawn me in, it is a constant battle between the enjoyment of working alone and ensuring that I will have achieved the best I can become as an artist. To this end, I decided that I had to push myself at a national level or least discover whether I merited consideration. Since my teens I have always used pencil, watercolour and acrylic (albeit not necessarily of artists’ quality) and so as soon as I heard about the Mall Galleries and the various societies exhibiting there, The Pastel and Watercolour Societies were an immediate draw. The Pastel Society embraced me quickly and at heart I am a drawer who has a determination to be a painter. The next part of the journey had arrived.
J.M.W. Turner is my inspiration. Other influences come and go but his approach to work has stayed with me all my life. I love to sketch and there is a strong argument to say that The Impressionists gave us ‘sketch painting’ by painting en-plein air and presenting it as the finished work. I have no problems with this but I am always afraid of missing something in the time it takes to finish the most fleeting of images.
Pure sketching is far less self-conscious and this is what I aspire too. Taking this through to the final conclusion that warrants the title ‘finished work’ is some way off but I am humbled that both compliments and sales have backed my approach to date. I sketch in front of the subject; I sketch out thoughts and I sketch out preliminary beginnings for paintings and drawings. I also use a digital camera for sketching. We can remember so much mentally; we can record so much physically but sometimes we can use technology wisely to help us. This is nothing new in the history of art.
I am an artist of the studio and in the landscape and my best work is always to come. I vary the process and experiment on my own terms with new drawing materials that can expand my visual process. I don’t think it is possible to ignore the past or we keep reinventing the wheel. But I fight to not be influenced by the present or we became merely imitators of others and too commercial in our thinking. There is nothing wrong with being commercial and better seeing our worth now rather than others seeing it later but it can stunt progress. I am greedy and want it all; to enjoy the process of growth as an artist, be able to share the journey with others and to benefit personally from the results. Degas and his exquisite use of pastel in both drawing and painting is my current inspiration and understanding his approach will hopefully assist me on my own path.
Born in Mitcham, Surrey. Married and moved to Bath in 1983.
1977-81 Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff
BSc Architectural Science 1st Class Honours
BArch (Wales) Distinction
1992-1993 West of England University, Bristol
MSc Construction Management
The Pastel Society PS
1985 to present day Architects Registration Council of The United Kingdom ARB
1985-2010 Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA
1985-1999 Project Architect, Associate, Partner, Director in Private Architectural Practice
1978 Winner of Welsh Measured Drawing Competition
1979 Represented Welsh School of Architecture in National Drawing Competition
1996 Winner of Open Design Competition for New Glastonbury Library.
2009 Highly Commended in Bath Prize Competition, The Octagon, Bath
2010 SAA Professional Artist of The Year winner in The Building Category .
2010 Highly Commended in Bath Prize Exhibition, The Octagon, Bath
2014 Winner of Escoda Barcelona Award for an outstanding landscape at Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, The Mall Galleries, London.
2016 Personally sponsored local school’s art competition
2018 Winner of Derwent Sponsors Award at The Pastel Society, The Mall Galleries, London.
2000 to present day- Invited artist at Le Corre Gallery, Bradford on Avon;
2010 Invited artist at The Bath Gallery, Bath;
2010-11 Invited artist at LeFort Gallery, Bath;
2011-2016 Overall coordinator of Larkhall Open Studio Art Trail;
2014 to present day- Invited artist at Castle Fine Art, Bath;
2015 to present day- Invited artist at Widbrookgrange Hotel, Bradford on Avon
National Children’s Drawing Competition 1969 (Somerset House, London);
National Architectural Student Design & Drawing Exhibition (London);
Bradford on Avon Library;
Royal West of England Academy Open Exhibition (Architecture);
Royal West of England Academy Open Exhibition (Art);
Le Corre Gallery (Bradford on Avon);
Castle Fine Art Gallery (Bath);
Sadler Gallery (Wells);
First Sight Gallery (Bath);
Bath Society Open Exhibition (Victoria Gallery, Bath);
No.1 The Royal Crescent Shop(Bath);
The Royal Crescent Hotel (Bath);
The Theatre Royal (Bath);
SAA National Exhibition;
The Grant Bradley Gallery (Bristol);
The Bath Gallery; The Octagon, Bath;
Building of Bath Museum Collection;
Larkhall Artists' Winter Show;
LeFort Gallery, Bath;
Trent Art Gallery;
The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition;
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Annual Exhibition;
The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition;
New English Art Club Annual Exhibition.
2003 "A Moment in Time" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2004 "In a Different Light" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2005 "Drawing on Bath" (The Theatre Royal, Bath)
2005 "Changing Moods" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2006 "A Further Step" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2007 "All about Bath" (The Theatre Royal, Bath)
2007 "Drawn to Water" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2008 "An Architect's Eye" (West Barn, Bradford on Avon)
2008 "St. Michael's & The City" (St. Michael's Church, Bath)
2009 "A Bath for All Seasons" (The Theatre Royal, Bath)
2009 to present day- Open Studio at Hillview Studio, Bath
2013 "Larkhall at night" (Larkhall)
2013 "Britain" at LeCorre Gallery
Work in private collections in UK, USA, Australia, Denmark, France, Asia, South Africa;
30 charcoals for Rode Manor House;
Featured in local newspapers and magazines;
Cards and limited-edition prints;
No.1, The Royal Crescent,
The Theatre Royal, Bath,
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, London.