I was born and spent my early childhood in the seaside town of Cleethorpes. Along with my older brother and a gaggle of friends from our street I’d often play at the beach, jumping off dunes where scratchy sea grass grew. My fascination with the sea and the ever changing shoreline are firmly rooted in these 1970s childhood experiences.
I had an ordinary education but my father who was a maths teacher and a capable draughtsman helped me develop my drawing and observation skills beyond the classroom norm. I was hooked on art by the time I was nine and set about entering art contests and interpreting favourite songs as images. When I was 17 a thirst for adventure set in and I spent a year as an exchange student in Texas. Those were life changing days, the generosity and confidence of my American family and friends gave me a different outlook on the world.
An unplanned gap year happened when I left school and took a job at The Meteorological Office in Brackness. The sciences of weather systems fascinating but photocopying and data entry are not. Before the year was out I realised that I would really have to push myself to achieve something more in life and set about applying through clearing to get onto an Art Degree course. 3 years later I had a first class degree but absolutely no idea how to become an artist – that would take many more years.
I began by painting portraits as a side line while I was working for a picture framer. Portraits taught me accuracy and gave me an insight into what people love about paintings. When my work became consistent and confident I approached a gallery for representation, had a few pieces accepted, left the framing job and never looked back.
I am now an oil painting specialist; it has been the medium that got my attention because of the range one can achieve with it. Painting in oils makes it possible to describe the effects of light – to the point where it seems light is emitted by the canvas itself. Although I’m known for paintings of people, children at play, figures and portraits and latterly still lives with vintage bears, the role of light and colour association are the key for me. That’s how I paint pictures about childhood and capture the way it feels rather than simply painting a picture of children.
I often demo or teach in oils at local art groups. This keeps me sharp: both as an artist because I’m called upon to help with many styles and approaches to painting; but also because they are good humoured social occasions. Life alone in the studio has been known to drive the odd artist a little potty!
Fire Round – Q & A
Favourite Artist – Turner
Best Holiday – Japan
Last meal on earth – Sushi
Top of the bucket List – To see Fireflies
Greatest Fear – Failure
Biggest Bugbear – Failure
Secret Skill – I can play the guitar
Most inspirational woman – Queen Elizabeth II