I left school to attend the Edinburgh College of Art in 1970. After a year in Edinburgh, I left, not finding what I was looking for in terms of study and instruction, although it was a lot of fun. I arrived in Edinburgh in a smart pair of cords and a duffle coat and within a fortnight I was in hippie beads and bare feet. Between then and now , I have continued to paint while earning a living in the world of music, television, theatre and general arts production (these different occupations: painting and the world of arts production, filled to the brim with imagination and creativity, and a lot of inspiring people; inform and inspire each other, which is a happy thing)
Art has remained an enduring passion and it was only in 2004 and 2005 when I spent 2 summers studying at the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence in Italy, that I began to feel that I was finding a real direction with paint. I studied there under the careful eye of Charles Cecil and his other tutors, learning to use sight-size technique in drawing and begining to undertsand the technical qualities of pigments and mediums. The emphasis there is on classical and formal painting, which is an excellent discipline to learn. Charles and his tutors were relentless in driving your abilities and an absolute inspiration to be around. From there, where I painted exclusively in oils, I have gone on to explore and love the medium of acrylic paint too, and to explore less formal/classical ways of working.
I work in both acrylics and oils nowadays, although I lean towards acrylics.
In addition to that I've been working on mono printing, a world of surprising and often delightful results.
Art means something different to everyone - for me it is about the things that I regard as beautiful or mystical, whether from nature or the imagination, from history, myth and religions or a mixture of all those thngs. I love the incredible painters of the rennaissance and equally I like contemporary painting in many forms from figurative through to abstract. I dont like 'brutal' or 'ugly' art at all. I can't bear to look at Hieronymus Bosch. There's quite enough ugly brutality on planet Earth without adding to it, to my way of thinking. I love the late great American painter John Singer Sargent, the evocative narrative paintings of Scotsman Jack Vettriano , the late Russian painter Ilya Repin, the Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman, the naive art of Salvador artist Alonso Flores, and so many more that I have made a page of links to my favourite artists - here
I think of myself as a painter - I prefer the term 'painter' - I paint whatever I love to paint - that's it !
ABOUT MY MATERIALS
I use only the highest quality professional artists' materials from my canvases through to paints and brushes. While there is a saying that a bad workman blames his tools, I can say from my own experience that it's much harder to paint with cheap materials and it's wise to invest in the best.
Acrylics - Golden Acrylics, heavy body and fliud acrylics
Cryla Acrylics and a variety of textures and mediums
Oils - Old Holland and Zecchi (from Florence)
I use a wide range of materials - my favourites are:
Fabriano paper from Italy
Nitram Willow charcoal from France
Fine Italian Linen Canvas (my overall perference)
High Quality Cotton Canvas
(for a more toothy surface)
I am currently investigating painting on wooden panels. This is the strongest possible support for an art work and is what painters used prior to canvas. The Mona Lisa is painted on mahogany.
A variety including Kolinsky Sables, Pro Arte, Winsor and Newton along with other tools of the trade like palette knives
I like to paint on a palette the same coulour as my canvas. Wooden palettes served that purpose for early painters.
I use clear, white, black, wooden, depending on the ground colour I have chosen for a particular work