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autumn
Autumn   -   (1963?)
pen and pencil
22 x 14cm
 
This drawing has no particular artistic merit, but what is truly remarkable is that it has survived over the years. I drew this when I was 13 or 14 years old, and lost track of it when I left home to study in Manchester. I rediscovered it over 40 years later when clearing out my dad's house after he died.
head_of_christ
Head of Christ (Michelangelo)   -   (1975?)
pencil
30 x 41cm
 
When I moved to Ipswich to start my new career in electronics, I had a yearning to rekindle my creative side, and did a series of drawings in a sketch pad. At the time I was collecting a series of art books, one of which focused on Michelangelo. I was greatly impressed by the craftsmanship that went into his sculptures. Indeed, anyone who has the artistic flair and technical ability to create such works of art is truly worthy of a salute. The book contained a photograph of the head of Christ. The photograph was a detail of the S. Spirito Crucifix, a painted wood sculpture dated 1493, and can be found in Casa Buonarroti, Florence. Here is my attempt at reproducing the photo in pencil.
Pots_1
Pots 1   -   (1975?)
 
Around the mid '70s, I wanted to extend my creative side, and decided to enroll on an evening class at the local college, to try my hand at pottery. I seemed to be a natural at throwing pots, and enjoyed the dual pleasures of both creating a 3-dimensional object and then decorating it. I probably would not have the patience to sculpt an object, but I find throwing a pot in a few minutes very rewarding. One challenge I approached with gusto was throwing wine goblets, an exceedingly difficult task to take on. The college eventually wound up this evening class, and I didn't throw any pots again for another 25 years. Then I found I could no longer throw such delicate pots.
west_india_docks
West India Docks   -   (1984)
pencil
71 x 47cm
 
In the early '80s, I set out to try and produce a series of drawings to keep my hand in. Sad to say I didn't produce many. I was finding that after spending a day at work I didn't have the right frame of mind to get down to drawing. However, I was inspired by one particular picture that I came across in one of my wife's history books. It showed a busy dockside during the years of sail. I have always had a fascination for such sailing ships, and the volume and variety of activity in this particular picture moved me to try and copy it, albeit on a much larger scale, and with a little bit of artistic licence of course. A few years later when I was taking my son around the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London, I came across the original drawing hanging in a display case. It was there that I discovered that the scene was based in London's West India Docks.
Whitehaven
Whitehaven   -   (1984)
pencil
33 x 24cm
 
As part of the series of drawings I made in the early '80s, and again focusing on a maritime scene, I took on the challenge of reproducing a photograph of a trawler putting out to sea from my home town of Whitehaven, Cumbria. I have no idea when the photograph was taken, probably the early part of the 20th century. At one time, the port was the third largest in England, and particularly flourished when coal mined locally was exported far and wide. Many mines extended out under the sea, worked over the years by men, women and children as young as 8 years old. Loss of life in the mines was appalling. Two local major disasters were: Wellington pit in 1910 when 136 men and boys died, and William pit in 1947 when 104 men died. My father, grandfathers and great grand fathers worked down the mines. Not all returned alive.
barn_door
Barn Door   -   (1990?)
watercolour
13 x 15cm
 
Around 1990, I bought myself a small watercolour sketch pad and tried the old time honoured technique used by the masters, copying paintings, in order to try and get my hand in at painting. You can often see art students adopting this practice in art galleries. During this study I almost filled the sketch pad up with a series of small paintings and notes. I can't remember which books I borrowed from the library, but this and the next four paintings give a feel for the variety of subjects that I tackled. I love the texture in this particular subject, I relish the challenge of painting it. Looking back now, the rendering of the cobbled yard and grass is appalling.
backyard
Back Yard   -   (1990?)
watercolour
17.7 x 19cm
 
This painting follows a similar theme to the previous one, trying to capture marvelous textures. There are hundreds of thousands of such back yards scattered across the country; reminds me of my northern roots. Similar to the previous painting, I have let myself down with the rendering of the yard floor and gutter.
hat_and_fiddle
Hat and Fiddle   -   (1990?)
watercolour
18 x 24cm
 
The simplicity of this subject appealed to me, with its crisp edges. My draughtsmanship in this sketch leaves a lot to be desired. However, what pleased me about my rendering of the subject was how I managed to achieve a "warm" colouring, and in particular how the warm local colour is picked up in the shadow areas.
newspaper_readers
Newspaper Readers   -   (1990?)
watercolour
22 x 15cm
 
I find drawing people not too bad, but painting them is another story. Conveniently, they are hidden behind newspapers in this study.
fishing_boat
Fishing Boat   -   (1990?)
watercolour
19 x 11cm
 
This is part of the same series of sketches as above. However, this was copied from a Winslow Homer painting which he produced during his 18 month stay in Northumberland. The atmospheric effects created by Homer just bowled me over, and I had to give it a try.
farmyard_gossip
Farmyard Gossip   -   (2000?)
watercolour
25 x 35cm
 
At the turn of the century I was getting interested in water colour painting again, and started to fill up another sketch pad with studies and small paintings. At the same time I was keen on photography, and one of the books I had on the subject included a photograph of some hens in a farmyard. I could just imagine them clucking as the old gossipy women used to do on their doorsteps in the village I grew up in. Of particular interest was the texture of the door and crumbly walls, which I find interesting subjects to paint. So I got out my watercolours and painted this picture.
Pots_2
Pots 2   -   (2000)
 
It was also at the turn of the century when I returned to throwing pots. After break of about 25 years, I was surprised at how quickly the skills came back, though I found I wasn't as technically competent as I had been during my earlier phase.
Pots_3
Pots 3   -   (2000)
 
As mentioned earlier, I find decorating the pots as rewarding as throwing them. These pots have been oxide painted with bamboo motifs before being glazed. The Japanese influence stems from the style of one of my pottery heroes, Bernard Leach, who was taught in Japan during his young adulthood, and brought his skills back to St Ives in Cornwall.
Pots_4
Pots 4   -   (2000)
 
Yet more pots.
kids_2003
Kids - 2003   -   (2003)
pencil
25 x 30cm
 
I drew this portrait of my children: Dan, Sally and Katie, towards the end of 2003. I had it framed and gave it to my wife as part of her Christmas present. Sad to say that was the last Christmas she would have with us.
oliver_oct_2009
Oliver - October 2009   -   (2009)
pencil
26.5 x 28.5cm
 
Oliver is my first grandchild, a little treasure: a new love in my life making me deliriously happy! I love him to bits.
erin_nov_2014
Erin - November 2014   -   (2014)
pencil
21.6 x 27.4cm
 
Just over five years after Oliver was born, I was gifted with a second grandchild, Erin, a sister for Oliver. She is absolutely gorgeous and I love her to bits too.


Last updated 29.12.2014