What inspires you?
I am inspired by landscape, dreams and my subconscious, plant forms and the spirit of place as well as nostalgia for childhood
Who are your favourite artists and why?
My favourite artists are Paul Nash for his quintessential British surrealism, Samuel Palmer for his visionary romanticism, John Minton for his neo-romantic illustrational pen and ink drawings, Graham Sutherland for his wild Welsh landscapes, Keith Vaughan for his men in the landscape, Picasso for his endless creativity, Andre Masson for his experimental strangeness, Laurie Anderson for her story-telling, John Craxton for his handsome men, Flora McLachlan for printmaking magic, Eileen Agar for creative brilliance, and Ray Bradbury for his wonderful writing that inspires my imagination.
Tell us about a memorable exhibition or creative event you experienced.
The most memorable exhibitions I have seen are Samuel Palmer at the British Museum (and subsequently a visit to the print room at the Ashmolean in Oxford to handle the sepia drawings), and a show of Eric Ravilious watercolours at Dulwich Picture Gallery – they were so beautiful. The Tate Britain exhibition of Paul Nash’s life work was like walking into a dream for me.
What is your work about?
My work is about landscape and our relationship with it from an emotional, ecological, perceptual and spiritual perspective.
What is your favourite medium or artist’s tool to work with and why?
Over the past few years, etching and aquatint have become my favoured media. There is a quality to the process and finished image that is impossible to replicate. I also like to hand colour a certain number of prints with japanese inks and watercolours – it creates a rather rich velvety effect on paper.
What do you think art offers society?
An opportunity to play, think and be imaginative, and a gateway to escape into inner worlds.
What experiences enabled you to develop your skills as an artist?
Time and good teachers have been the most important contributors in developing my skills. I gave up my job in 2006 to concentrate on being an artist; the only way to get better at something is to spend a lot of time doing it. It takes days to make some of my detailed drawings and etchings and without the time to concentrate on them, they simply wouldn’t exist. Teachers throughout my life have also been very important – my art teacher st School – Ian (Archie) Webb, at University – Alistair Crawford, and at Morley College most recently, printmaking tutor Richard Michell.
What do you love most about being an artist?
The magic of seeing an image appear in front of me from my hand and my heart that feels like it has been given to me as a gift.
Best bit of advice you came across.
When I left my job and concentrated on making a living as an artist, I was advised not to split my working time with other things as I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my dreams. I had to for a little while, but found that part-time jobs were too distracting. The lesson I learned was it’s better to scrape by if you can hold on in there when things are rough rather than compromise.
What do you want to achieve as an artist?
Creating artworks that add something unique to the world.
Favourite way to unwind?
Wine and a good film or walking in the countryside.
What is the single most important thing art has given you?
Faith in something more than physical reality
What regularly makes you smile?
Most pleasing artwork you created to date?
The Blue Neo-romantic