I live in Emsworth in Hampshire with my wife Joyce, my chief adviser and valued critic.
I interpret the traditional subjects of landscape, still life and the human figure in my own way, aiming not for realism so much as for visual impact, energy and strong design. Painting being an activity in two dimensions, I value and exploit the flatness of the picture plane. My work is essentially about shapes and their relation to one another and to the space they occupy. I am influenced by Chinese painting and calligraphy, in which space and balance are very important.
Starting a painting I generally have little idea where it is going. Before judging a work finished I will probably have made many changes and perhaps restarted more than once. My work is a journey with obstacles and turning points, and sometimes, with luck, an arrival. I value ambiguity.
Being untaught, I have my own views on learning about art; I carry no art school baggage. I think that technique should not be more highly valued than ideas (look how scrubby Matisse’s work could be – but what design!) With this in mind I conduct one-day workshops in which I try to lure people out of their comfort zones into the bigger worlds hiding in their heads. I have found it possible to get people to produce exciting and beautiful work of a kind they did not dream of; this is enormously satisfying to them and to me.
Artists I especially admire include Zurbarán, El Greco, Corot, Manet, Boudin, Diebenkorn, Vaughan, Serra, Eardley and Doig. Actually, nearly all artists have something worth looking at. I look at a lot of art.
Emsworth Artists Annual Exhibition, 26 – 30 August, Emsworth Community Centre