Born 1969, Oxford UK, I studied maths at Bristol University, and (postgraduate) printmaking at the University of the West of England. A career in IT consultancy enabled me to observe, travel, study, and develop my practice without commercial constraint or substantial instruction.
My lifetime daily practice is figurative observational drawing. Rejecting flattery or visual conjecture, I love contrasts: natural and manmade, light and dark, recoil and appreciation. I champion the less obviously beautiful subject in a lively and expressive way - a magnified insect, a spitting camel, or a particularly uninteresting shell. I keep subjects in their real context, including litter, mundane furniture or the urban landscape. My large-scale relief prints and drawings reduce subjects to stark monochrome, while remaining faithful to their surface texture and form. My background in logic is reflected through solid draftsmanship, and the deliberate absence of idealization or fantasy.
Since childhood I have been a maker of global crafts in the European tradition: knitting, crochet, weaving, calligraphy etc. In the current age of digital technology, and instant gratification, I relish the stillness and skill that come with disciplined practice. To me, craft techniques are part of my family heritage, and a universal language that transcends time and culture.
I view observational drawing, painting and printmaking as extensions of this craft set, requiring patient application. Mastery is a constant challenge, and to an extent an end in itself. My work is observed from life, spontaneously executed, and stopped short of a pristine finish.
I depict less obviously beautiful subjects, that might invoke a shudder or ironic amusement. I engage with balances such as recoil and appreciation, nature in an urban setting, form versus reflection and shadow. I focus on the mundane or less obvious subject to record raw unfiltered beauty, commonly lost or sanitised in curated photostreams and enhanced selfies.
My work broadly falls into three categories:
Pencil or dipped pen. I draw indiscriminately from life the flora, fauna and landscape around me – taxidermy, sports training, urban landscape, my sleeping children... I see a page of thumbnail sketches as a finished piece, a raw and immediate encapsulation of a place and time. I draw the nude from life every week.
Using monochrome or reduction blocks I produce hand printed small editions. Sometimes on a very large scale, I build a complex image from many small cuts, as a knitter uses stitches to build a garment.
Portraiture (human, animal, or special object)
I savour the challenge of representing a being, for the particular difficulties of likeness, anatomy, expression, and reconciliation with the subject’s own self-identification. I work in all mediums, particularly oil paint. I am passionate about getting original art, particularly good quality drawing, in front of children - this has given rise to a business soft toy portraits, operating under the separate identity of www.soggyrabbit.com.
I have assosciated with several collectives, particularly Spike Printmakers (UK), Tashkeel (Dubai) and the international Urban Sketchers organisation.
Albrecht Durer, Auguste Rodin, Raoul Dufy, M.C. Escher, Peter Reddick, Piers Browne, Bryan Poole, Rachel Milne, Susie Brooks, and many more.
Work on permanent display in Greens Restaurant
Raw Observations - at Gallery 76, Dubai International Art Center, 2017 Click here to download catalogue
Academie de la Grande Chaumiere (Paris) 2019
Made In Tashkeel, Dubai 2016 Click here for press article
Dubai Jazzfest, 2016
ARTE (Artisans of the Emirates) Dubai 2015, 2016
Bristol Southmead Hospital (Brunel Building atrium inaugural exhibition) 2014
West Bristol Art Trail 2011, 2012
Spike Print Studio annual members’ exhibition 2012
Largely self-taught, I use the profits from my art sales to take short bursts of concentrated study, in specific techniques:
Paris Academie de la Grande Chaumiere (2019) week of intensive life drawing (Laurent Cattaneo)
Bristol Lara Atelier 2018 course on sight-size drawing
Belfast Academy of Realist Art 2018 week of old master oil painting technique (Michael John Angel of Angel Academy of Florence)
UWE 1997-1998 Postgraduate diploma in Printmaking