Celebrating the Integrity of Nature
I’ve had several interests and occupations through my life, but those involving nature have been right up there from the start. I spent much of my youth walking local country lanes, enjoying the surrounding woodlands, learning about the flora and fauna and rescuing and nurturing injured birds and animals. Even as a child, I also loved being creative and enabling things to happen. Looking back, little wonder these qualities and features: nature, nurture and creativity, predominated my various subsequent occupations! In fact, I’ve come to think of them more as expressions of my vocation or raison d’être than merely hobbies or past times. Quaker author Parker J. Palmer defines vocation as something within us that embodies and expresses the truths and values we represent. He sums it up, “True vocation joins self and service, the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs.”
The 1960’s and 70’s, for the most part, were spent learning to draw and paint in the classical figurative tradition of the renowned Florentine Studio of Nerina Simi. This was followed by training amongst the Parisian Academies of the French impressionist culminating in eighteen months drawing and painting the tribal peoples of Southern Africa. On my return to the UK, I held several one man shows throughout East Anglia, exhibited at the Royal Portrait Society, fulfilling portrait commissions and teaching extensively. I finally settled down and raised my wonderful family.
Looking back, those earlier years presented not only opportunities to learn all about drawing and painting from some of the most gifted of masters. But my artistic education was an education in learning to ‘see’. But it was a decade or so later that my life was redirected onto a path that involved the oft-times painful lesson of learning to ‘hear’. The 1980’s and 90’s saw me engaged in theological and psychotherapeutic training and charity work, helping people find meaning, purpose and direction in their lives.
How, I hear you ask, is this relevant to your art work?
Now settled by the Wye Valley and Forests of Dean and Wentwood on the borders, how could I not be influenced by the wealth of natures’ delights surrounding me? Learning about these arboreal species and endeavouring to portray their, at times, almost humanoid personalities, presents an enormous challenge! …..seasonal cycles, textures and tones, contours and contexts of nature in this formidable landscape!
Through my work, mainly in oils on wood panels and pen and ink drawings, I aim to shed a spot light on aspects of nature that might otherwise be missed by the passer by. My work endeavours to challenge the viewer to stop and ponder a-while. To ‘see’, ‘hear’ and ‘celebrate’ with me the wonders of nature; to draw attention to aspects of my subject in a new way. A way, that not only retains the integrity of my subject and of nature itself, but through the process of artistic re-creation and re-presentation, my own integrity too! I suppose that’s what art ultimately is!
Please CONTACT me with your enquiry and I’ll be happy to discuss possibilities and fees