I met George at City & Guilds Art School in Kennington where he was often employed as a model. He was an educated West Coast American in his seventies and was as much a delight to draw as he was a delight to have around. He took great interest in my work and always wanted to see how a drawing was progressing during each sitting though he never commented on it. He could sit still for hours and had a head made for sculptors.
The River Thames and Docklands have always been a rich source of inspiration. I have lived and worked beside it and have always loved it. Watching Canary Wharf being built from my studio window in Peckham, I charted the rise of London’s new monument and its emerging skyline. The graphic, structural quality of the urban landscape appealed to the architect in me and the spiralling construction cranes captivated me.
Again and again, I return to nature as subject matter. Places I’ve visited and places I haven’t. A year spent in Southern Israel on a travel scholarship was hugely influential, with trips to Morocco and the somewhat less glamorous, though equally beautiful, Brecon Beacons, provided sources of great inspiration. A chance to explore structure, light and experiment with colour always appeals.
As an art student in Oxford, life drawing was encouraged. I grasped at the chance and attended every class I could. It remained at the centre of my practice as an artist for a long time. After graduating, I drew everywhere I could: at the Big Issue where I set up a class, in a painter’s studio in Clapham and courses at City & Guilds in South London where I met the inspirational Diane Magee who taught there.
During a year-long art scholarship, I painted from a primitive studio in the South of Israel. On the edge of the Negev desert, the intense light and heat, and almost total isolation, had a profound effect on my work. I ground raw pigments from desert rock and used them in the figure-based work that resulted, much of it about loneliness, longing and loss. Whilst it was a fruitful period, I was pleased to get home.
Over the years, I have been commissioned by numerous organisations to make work that can be used in their publicity. Early on, my affiliation with a London-based string quartet resulted in many such projects, along with….to be continued!