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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 (Michelangelo)   -   (1975?)
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 the octagonal sacristy of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito. Here is my attempt at reproducing the photo in pencil.
Pots 1   -   (1975?)
Around the mid '70s, I wanted to extend my creative side, and decided to enrol 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   -   (1984)
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   -   (1984)
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 grandfathers worked down the mines. Not all returned alive.
Barn Door   -   (1990?)
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.
Back Yard   -   (1990?)
17.7 x 19cm
This painting follows a similar theme to the previous one, trying to capture marvellous 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   -   (1990?)
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   -   (1990?)
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   -   (1990?)
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   -   (2000?)
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   -   (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   -   (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   -   (2000)
Yet more pots.
Kids - 2003   -   (2003)
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 - October 2009   -   (2009)
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 - November 2014   -   (2014)
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.
Robin - August 2018   -   (2018)
19.3 x 27.0cm
And now a baby sister for Oliver and Erin, a gorgeous, little bundle of joy called Robin.
Chinese Landscape   -   (2018)
100.0 x 150.0cm
Having set my heart on producing a Chinese landscape to cover a large expanse of wall, I bought a large canvas and set about painting. I had not used oil paints for 45 years, not painted for about 18 years, and had never painted on canvas before, so there was a steep learning exercise, but the effort was worth it.
Rennes-le-Château   -   (2019)
38.0 x 27.0cm
Whilst spending some time in the French Pyrenees during September, a friend and I decided to climb up to Rennes-le-Château, a 3km hike up a steep ridge climbing 568m. We set off just before daybreak in order to avoid the heat of the day. As we ascended, we emerged through banks of early morning mist to find the sun peeking through a break in the clouds and bathing Rennes-le-Château in a golden glow. The landscape around us was magical; enough to motivate me to capture it in paint.
Botter Aground on the Wadden Sea   -   (2020)
38.0 x 23.7cm
Over recent years me and my mate Rex, and sometimes his wife too, have sailed across to the Netherlands. At times we have included in those adventures explorations of the Frisian Islands and the Wadden Sea that lies between the islands and the mainland. Vast areas of the Wadden Sea are flooded at high tide but become mudflats at ebb. Navigating a small boat under these conditions requires skilled seamanship. The area forms the backdrop for the Riddle of the Sands: a 1903 novel by Erskine Childers, an early example of the espionage novel. It is an adventure thriller about two young men who stumble upon a German armada preparing to invade England. The whole area just oozes a romantic charm. Often on our sails, we have stumbled across botters. Unique to the Netherlands, these are fast sailing ships that are intrinsically suited for sailing in the shallow waters of the Ijsselmeer. The ships have a flat bottom and angular bilges that turn into rounded sides.
Lake District Scene During Autumn   -   (2020)
38.3 x 24.8cm
I grew up in West Cumbria on the industrialised coastal plain. As a child I would look out of my bedroom window across to the western fells. I was invisibly drawn to them, and when I eventually had a bike, I would often cycle across into the heart of the Lake District. Based in East Anglia, I miss the mountains and lakes. This painting attempts to capture that wonderland during the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Fisherman   -   (2020)
61.0 x 42.6cm
In the 1980s, I was quite keen on photography, and used to buy photography magazines. Once such magazine contained a photograph which featured a fisherman casting his net, watched on by his son and daughter. The scene was probably a river in Africa or Asia, with a strong backlight from the sun casting the people as silhouettes. What fascinated me was the swirling patterns of the sandbanks, a striking composition. I kept the magazine for many years knowing that at some point in the future I would try and capture it in paint. Years ago I tried to paint it in watercolour, but could not do it justice. However, I took up oil painting in 2020, and this effort was my first painting.
Saxophone Player   -   (2021)
61.0 x 41.2cm
A photograph of a saxophone player caught my eye. I could just imagine I was in a darkened jazz club, the player in the spotlight, with wispy tendrils of smoke to capture the scene.
Jazz Band   -   (2021)
61.0 x 44.0cm
I painted this for the sheer fun of it. Jazz players in a band always seem to be one-offs, providing diversity through their own musical instruments, and unity by making it all come together in a rhythmic, harmonious, pleasing sound.
Canal Bank   -   (2021)
61.0 x 42.0cm
Having spent considerable time sailing along Dutch canals, this painting attempts to convey the beauty, tranquillity and peace of the canals in the early morning sun.
Coal Mine   -   (2021)
61.0 x 51.0cm
I grew up in a mining village. This painting attempts to collect the images I stored in my mind as a child. An industrial atmosphere of smoke and steam with grimy, old buildings. A group of miners, freshly showered in the pit-head baths, enjoy some banter as they head home for a square meal.
Ralph - October 2021   -   (2021)
19.5 x 28.0cm
My fourth grandchild, Ralph is Sally and George's son. His entry into the world was a long struggle, but well worth the wait; a future rugby player and part-time engineer.

Last updated 29.8.2022